Claims emerging this week by leading tech website Wired based on data from a report by GlobalWebIndex show that Indonesia has the highest percentage of VPN users with a massive 41% of all internet users claiming to use one.
VPN use around the world has rocketed in recent years and with countries as unlikely as the United Kingdom ever eroding away at the public’s privacy, it looks like a trend that is set to increase. Although the UK with its impending privacy-busting IPBill is becoming well-known for invasive surveillance by government bodies the latest report from GlobalWebIndex shows only 16% of overall internet users in the UK make use of a VPN to protect their privacy or for other purposes.
Asia ahead of the west
This percentage is echoed across much of the western world including the USA, Canada, France, Germany and a whole host of others showing a relatively low VPN uptake.
The report from GlobalWebIndex and made public by Wired shows that Indonesia is now the country with the widest spread of VPN use compared to overall internet users and at 41% it’s no small amount.
Highest VPN use chart
With an estimated 53 million internet users in Indonesia, that’s an astounding 21 million plus VPN users in Indonesia alone.
China with one of the most restrictive internet regimes in the world would be the obvious choice for VPN use as users can’t access sites as simple as Facebook, Twitter and a whole host of other sites that are taken for granted in the west and throughout the world.
Surprisingly China only managed a 29% VPN use in the same survey leaving Indonesia far out in front.
Although Indonesia had the highest level of VPN use out of the countries surveyed it wasn’t alone with Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE and Vietnam all falling between the 35-39% range.
Censorship pushes VPN use
It’s little wonder that Indonesia has become a hub of VPN use with recent blockades making headlines. Only recently when Netflix expanded to include large portions of the world it found itself blocked on one major ISP in Indonesia due to the large selection of inappropriate material including sex and violence that is at odds with the morals of the government.
Other stories about apps being blocked in Indonesia featuring LGBT emojis and stickers also brought Indonesia to the forefront of censorship.
So while Indonesia and many second world countries lead the way in VPN usage it appears those of us in the western world lag far behind.
Although we often assume that the west has a more free and open internet the restrictions and censorship that are now being put in place in countries such as the UK and others around Europe plus the heavy surveillance that US citizens may find themselves under it would appear that we as nations need to play catch up.
As many Asian nations have discovered, when the internet becomes censored it’s time to bash down those blockades with a VPN service and in the coming years it is likely ever more necessary that closer to home we should be thinking of doing that too.