One of my most recent thoughts is Will VPN services continue to grow? It is a rather interesting concept as in recent years there has been a mass explosion in VPN uptake which not only includes a huge influx of new users but also a boom in service choice. While there are some very good VPN providers and some very poor ones the expansion of choice is definitely a good thing and is now allowing providers to cater for a wide range of needs.
While originally most western countries had a good range of providers and servers it is has developed in to a worldwide service which is now not only seeing traditional services offer their services worldwide but also more localised providers are appearing to provide for the needs of their regional customers. It is certainly true that part of this explosion in uptake is due to revelations in the past few years around government spying. The western world has always seen movies with government spying and although most people suspected was probably true I assume we took it as far fetched movie world spin, little did we realise that the types of spying we have seen for so many years in those movies would actually be true and somewhat more intrusive than we ever imagined.
The reality has now settled in that what we do on the internet is not secure, not only from hackers and dangerous types but also from the same people who we entrust to secure our safety. While I have no problem with governments and agencies targeting the internet use of criminals, terrorists and other such people I do take issue with the blanket recording of all and everyone’s data without valid reason and without a court order (subpoena). The law has always been innocent until proven guilty and with these new developments it appears as if everyone is a suspect so they will cast a huge fishing net in the hope of catching one or two who are up to wrong doings. This is not acceptable.
So with this realisation many of us are now taking a proactive approach to our own online security and the way in which we look at handling our personal data and the actions we carry out online. We no longer sit easy with the fact our use is anonymous because we now know differently.
So from an every day use view the VPN industry should continue to grow year on year and this can only be a good thing because not only does it offer consumers more choice in what provider they choose to entrust with their personal data but it also allows for the expansion of technology and standards. Recently developments like the proprietary protocol Chameleon from Golden Frog, the introduction of Warrant Canaries from the likes of LiquidVPN and Proxy.sh plus token based systems from Crytostorm are all excellent progression in the VPN industry and only go to improve the security and options available.
Another large expansion area has been the growth of accessing content that otherwise wouldn’t of been possible. As the world becomes smaller and popular TV series become more well known around the world it has been a natural progression that users seek to access the latest episodes of a current popular series before they arrive on the shores of the country they live in. This is especially true with good US and UK content. A recent successful series of Sherlock Holmes which was shown on the UK channel ITV become popular worldwide. It was especially popular in China and even though the same episode was to be shown in China two hours after it aired in the UK many Chinese fans chose to use a VPN to watch live at the time it aired in the UK even though it was around 6am local time in China.
So while users continue to want to keep up with the latest TV content it makes sense that the VPN industry will expand in this direction more and more in to the future. One development which is taking hold is the ability to use DNS services which are set to access the content regardless of which server you connect to, the bonus of this is there is no real speed loss so no buffering or delay problems occur. Another solution from BlackVPN is to offer a VPN server that automatically grabs the various content via another server which means you can watch content from a variety of sources around the world without the need to change to country specific servers.
The only issue with VPN providers expanding solely because of online content from geo restricted services such as iPlayer, Hulu and the like is when a change is made such as the recent IP blocks introduced by Hulu or when BT Sport changed their iOS app so that it made use of GPS services to search the real location of the user rather than relying on the internet connection to understand the location. With these changes it brings added problems and leaves the users and VPN providers at the mercy of the content providers as at any time they could introduce new measures that would need to be combated.
So while I envisage that VPN use and providers will continue to expand in the near future it will be mainly in relation to their original use with security and anonymity at the forefront of that growth.