Tag Archives: Internet Censorship

EU Copyright Directive Approved: Catastrophic Results Ahead?

The European Parliament has voted in favor of the EU Copyright Directive. This controversial piece of legislation could lead to catastrophic results for Internet users in the EU. Two articles within the EU Copyright Directive – Article 11 and Article 13 – have been referred to as the “link tax” and the “meme ban.” While defenders of the legislation state the Directive will help stop digital piracy, many fear the effects of these new laws will be nothing short of Orwellian.

Nevertheless, the Copyright Directive is not yet law. The European Council, Commission, and Parliament still need to decide on a final wording, a process that will likely last until December 2018. Once that happens, the Directive will need to be approved one more time by the European Parliament in January 2019. However, Internet users in the EU should still focus on protecting their home networks from even more totalitarian legislation.

First and foremost, the EU Copyright Directive is a form of legislation limiting the use of copyrighted content on online platforms. Proponents of the Directive say that this will help content creators as users will no longer be able to share copyrighted materials. As a result, these proponents believe that content creators will be properly paid for the use of their copyrighted material.

However, the Directive’s opponents see a much darker scenario. Article 13 of the Directive, referred to above as the “meme ban”, states “online content sharing service providers and right holders shall cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorized protected works or other subject matter are not available on their services.”

The Best VPNs To Prevent The Government From Viewing Your Data

What can EU Internet users do? While using a Virtual Private Network will not prevent the “link tax” or “meme ban” from going into effect, it will protect your network from any snooping intruders, be they of the government or unlawful citizenry. Here are some of the most popular and trust worthy providers:

  • NordVPN – Use over 5156 servers from 62 countries around the world. Pay using bitcoin for maximum security. No logging and military grade AES 256-bit encryption!
  • ExpressVPN – Over 2,000 VPN servers in 148 server locations in 94 countries. Unlimited bandwidth, speed, and server switches. Recommended VPN service for China.
  • IPVanish – No logs! Own and operate their own servers. Over 40,000 IPs on 1,000+ servers in more than 60 countries! Recommended VPN service for the Middle East, including UAE & Dubai.
  • HideMyAss – Connect to a VPN server in seconds. Automatically chooses the least loaded server in a location to ensure top speeds.

Article 11: The Link Tax

Now, back to the specifics of the EU Copyright Directive.

Article 11 has been referred to as the “link tax.” Concerning Article 11, “information society service providers” (news aggregators like Google News) must provide “remuneration” for the “digital use” of “press publications.”

In other words, if a news aggregator site posts a portion of a news article, they will have to pay the publisher of the original article. Article 11 is not clear on just how much of the original article will have to be posted before the initial publisher must be paid. The most recent version of the bill does provide an exemption for “legitimate private and non-commercial use of press publications by individual users”. However, the idea of having to pay for posting a portion of an article should be disturbing for anyone who believes in a free and open Internet.

Article 13: The Meme Ban

Article 13 states that “information society service providers,” sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, which rely heavily on user-generated content, will be responsible for taking down content that infringes on copyright. A preceding version of the article mentioned the use of “content recognition technologies,” referring to a potential “upload filter”.

Furthermore, Article 13 has been referred to as the “meme ban” as many memes use copyrighted images. Defenders of the Directive believe that memes will be protected by parody laws. However, many believe the “upload filters” will not be able to distinguish between memes and other material.

Protecting Your Network From Draconian Governments

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There is not much that EU Internet users will be able to do to protect themselves from the Copyright Directive. Facebook, YouTube, Google, and other giants of the Internet will be forced to comply with the legislation if it passes. With this, users will be forced to comply as well.

However, this does not mean that EU citizens need to fall prey to any and all draconian Internet rules. Using a Virtual Private Network from a service like IPVanish or NordVPN on a FlashRouter (like the R9000 pictured above) will allow you to encrypt your entire network. While encryption will not be able to protect you from having content blocked by “upload filters”, it will be able to protect your network from any outside intruders, like the a snooping government or individuals with prying eyes.

In a world of ubiquitous Internet use, it is important to make sure your connections are secure and encrypted. Just as we remember to lock the door to our homes at night, we should do the same for our WiFi networks. While we may not be able to stop every totalitarian action placed by governments in order to limit our Internet use, we can still protect ourselves using a VPN.

Using a VPN To Unblock YouTube

Unblocking And Using YouTube With A VPN

To most, YouTube was a huge turning point in the history of the Internet. The main purpose of YouTube is to create and share videos and ideas with anyone and everyone online. But what happens if everyone can’t access YouTube? How would you find music, fix a leaky sink, or even watch silly cat videos?

The answer to all these questions? Use YouTube with a VPN!

Why Countries Block Access To YouTube

There are many reasons that an oppressive government would block YouTube. Some of these reasons include:

  • Limit exposure to content that may incite social or political unrest
  • Prevent criticisms of a ruler, government, government officials, religion, or religious leaders
  • Violation of national laws such as copyright and intellectual property protection laws
  • Violation of hate speech, ethics, or morality-based laws
  • Preventing access to videos inappropriate for youth

While some countries completely block access to YouTube, some countries only block partial access to certain videos.

Countries That Block Access To YouTube

Currently, there are only a few countries that have enacted full blocks to YouTube. These countries include:

  • China
  • Iran
  • North Korea

It is no surprise that these countries are blocking access to YouTube, given their history of oppressive government regulations.

China, for example, has severely cracked down on the way their citizens use the Internet, removing foreign TV shows and even jailing VPN users.

More Countries That Have Previously Blocked YouTube

  • Afghanistan
  • Brazil
  • Germany
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan
  • Russia

While these countries may have lifted their restrictions on YouTube, some may still limit users to what they can view on the website.

Using YouTube With A VPN

As stated before, the obvious answer to getting around these blocks is using YouTube with a VPN. A VPN allows for users to circumvent blocks and regulations by routing connections to a remote VPN server.

These VPN servers are typically located in different countries, making it appear as if your connection to YouTube is from a different country.

For example, if you were located in Russia and connected to a United States VPN, YouTube would think that you are connected to the United States. This effectively unblocks content previously restricted by your government or ISP.

Unblocking YouTube With A VPN FlashRouter

Unfortunately, VPN services typically only offer a limited amount of connections to their VPN servers. These limits can range anywhere from 1-10 concurrent devices. Luckily, a FlashRouter is a perfect solution.

A FlashRouter is a powerful wireless router that is flashed with open-source DD-WRT firmware as well as our new FlashRouters Privacy App. With these upgrades, a DD-WRT FlashRouter:

  • Fixes bugs and firmware insecurities
  • Improves network stability
  • Increases wireless strength
  • Enables VPN server supportSelect Least Loaded VPN Server with the FlashRouters Privacy App

Additionally, the FlashRouters Privacy App extends these capabilities to allow for an easy and streamlined user experience. This enables users to:

  • Access options and configurations directly from your Internet browser
  • Easy device management such as kill switch and VPN bypass by device
  • Simplified VPN server switching by server location or server load

Can’t access YouTube from your current VPN server? No problem! Simply go to the Privacy App homepage and select a new VPN server from the dropdown box!

Want to learn more about using YouTube with a VPN? Visit our most popular router options or feel free to contact our team for all your internet streaming and privacy needs!

Turkey Blocks Tor, VPNs to Solidify Social Media Blocks

Turkey Blocks Tor and VPNs to solidify social media blocks

Turkey Blocks Tor, VPNs

Blocking social media sites wasn’t enough. Now restrictive governments are going after Internet anonymity tools.

Once again, a free and open Internet is proven to be a very powerful thing. Why else would oppressive governments move to restrict it when they feel threatened?

Turkey Blocks VPN and Tor

Major social media sites have been massively restricted or outright blocked in Turkey. This is proving to be a rather dispiriting routine for the Turkish government.

Moreover, citizens have grown wise to the recurring threat of Internet censorship from their government and many have taken to using anonymous browsing tools like Tor and VPNs. Why? Tor and VPNs allow Turkish citizens to circumvent the blocks. So Turkey took the next rational step, blocking Tor and select VPNs, according to Motherboard.

“This is something we’ve been through a million times,” Eva Galperin, the global policy analyst at the digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Motherboard. “At this point I could write a blog post on Turkish internet censorship using mad libs.”

Now, this isn’t a full TKO for the Turkish government. You can get around VPN blocks and continual changes by setting a VPN at a router with a pre-configured VPN WiFi router. It is an unfortunate development nonetheless.

Unsurprisingly, the Turkish government’s decision to block or massively throttle sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Skype is directly related to their usage by forces that oppose the current government. As ever, the first thing to go is free and easy communication. According to The Daily Dot,

Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yıldırım, has said “These kinds of measures may be taken from time to time for security reasons. These are temporary measures and when the danger is alleviated, everything returns to normal.”

The “danger” Yildirim is referring to are the protests coming from the opposition, People’s Democratic Party, also known as HDP. The protests sprang up in response to the arrest of 12 HDP party leaders. Preventing opposition forces from communicating and organizing is unsuprising but disappointingly common activity these days. VoIP services like WhatsApp and Skype give users the freedom to speak for free across great distances.

How to Get Around a Turkish VPN and Tor Block

So the Turkish government is forcing opposition party members, and everyone else, to sit in the dark for a while. They’re doing the best they can anyway. As for now, the supposed VPN block list in Turkey includes “Tor Project, VPN Master, Hotspot Shield VPN, Psiphon, Zenmate VPN, TunnelBear, Zero VPN, VyprVPN, Private Internet Access VPN, Espress VPN, IPVanish VPN.”

That said, ExpressVPNVyprVPN, and PrivateInternetAccess are working just fine in Turkey, according to Comparitech. Judge for yourself as to why Turkey would claim otherwise.

Regardless, that also leaves plenty of viable VPNs active in the region. We encourage you to look into other workarounds (*cough, routers with VPN pre-installed, *cough) as well. And keep using VPNs and Tor as much as possible. Anonymity tools are absolutely essential in this era of massive hacks and identity theft. They keep online data safe. Therefore, protecting them is necessary. This won’t be the last time some despotic government goes after Tor and VPNs. Help keep the Internet free.

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VPNs (Virtual Private Networks): How Can They Help You?

vpn-internet-privacy-hide-address-and-locationAt the risk of sounding alarmist, your online presence is vulnerable. As we grow more and more reliant on constant access to the internet to manage our work lives as well as our private lives, we become increasingly liable to exploitation.

Identity theft and malevolent computer viruses abound, and accessing public Wi-Fi on our internet-capable devices can be a risky proposition. We’ve long past the point where striving to protect your online identity is considered the realm of the paranoid.

When searching for an answer on how to feel more protected or to have freer access on the Internet, you are very likely to stumble upon VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). It is, by far, the most popular topic among visitors to FlashRouters.

With the help of VPNs, you can maintain as active of an online presence as you please, secure in the knowledge that no one can access your information without your consent. This sort of protection is invaluable for protecting your family or small business.

What is a VPN?

While Internet jargon & acronyms can seem overused and intimidating, if security and privacy is your goal, VPN is one term worth learning more about.

VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, hide your online presence by rerouting (or, as it is more often referred to, tunneling) all of your network traffic through their servers.

Consider VPN service as a sort of online cloak: no matter where you are, no matter which internet-capable device you’re using, or whether you’re using your own provider or a Wi-Fi hotspot, as long as you’re logged in to your VPN client account, your IP address will be hidden, keeping your information secure.

What Are the Best Reasons to use a Virtual Private Network?

Aside from protecting your online presence from eavesdroppers and hackers, VPNs provide a multitude of other services:

1. Increased Privacy 

Once connected to a VPN service, your online movements will be cloaked through the use of an anonymous IP address.

2. Government Level Security & Encryption

Most VPN providers (ExpressVPNIPVanish) encrypt users’ traffic with a minimum of 128-bit high-level encryption of various manners such as 128-bit CBC-Blowfish, high-level hash algorithms, and high bit count RSA. And what does that actually mean? It means that this information is practically wrapped in to decipher protection even by the most powerful computers. Your Internet provider will not do any of that, so to get this type of protection, you need to start using VPN.

3. Dismiss Internet Censorship & Mask Your Connection Location/Country

intenet-privacy-hide-address-and-locationVPN services can provide a quick end to internet restrictions such as blocked/censored websites, traffic restrictions and blocked ports to some of the Internet’s most popular websites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google) and services (Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora).

VPN service providers can set you up with an IP address in the country of your choosing, which expands your range of access for all sorts of sites. For example, if you wish to access a website that is almost completely exclusive to America, such as Hulu or Netflix, and you’re overseas on vacation or business, using a VPN provider with American-based server locations can bypass that restriction, allowing you the access for which you’re looking. Some of the most popular VPN providers with US-based servers include IPVanishNordVPN, and PrivateInternetAccess.

A VPN is different than a web proxy since a VPN client will automatically work with all applications on your laptop/tablet/streaming device, due to the fact that your entire internet connection to that device is completely tunneled.

VPNs can also be used to bypass blocked websites and blocked ports, transcending the strictures of internet censorship in many restrictive countries and regimes throughout Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

What’s more, Virtual Private Network providers are easy to use for a single device like a laptop or desktop. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of downloading a client (an installed computer application) and entering a username and password.

So whether you have a small business you wish to protect or are just interested in heightening the security around your private usage, subscribing to a VPN service will provide no small measure of comfort.

How Can FlashRouters Enhance the Virtual Private Network Experience?

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FlashRouters devices are different because they are set up with internal router-based VPN client connection options, enabling you to utilize your subscription with an external VPN service provider.

Configuring your FlashRouter as a VPN client with PPTP, L2TP, or OpenVPN allows you to encrypt the connection of your Apple TV, Smart TV, Roku which completely lack VPN connection settings. So, with a FlashRouter, an AppleTV can become a VPN AppleTV.

As a second bonus, laptops, gaming consoles (XBOX, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation), and any other streaming HD video or media device can all be connected at the same time with one subscription.

Providers require payment per VPN connection, so if you try to connect multiple devices at the same time it will not work. But, by making the router the primary connection, the router can then share the VPN connection to all your devices for the price on one subscription. This can save you hundreds of dollars per year if you and your family all want VPN access at the same time.

Use a FlashRouter-based Internet connection with VPN client to browse the websites safely and securely or stream movies (Netflix, SnagFilms, Crackle), TV shows, music, and other media.

For more general information and questions regarding VPN’s please visit our VPN FAQ.

For more DD-WRT & VPN Service Provider updates, product updates, and limited-time specials drop us an e-mail, a tweet, follow us Instagram, or give us a big ole Like.

Updated: 08/15/16

Flash Routers Sale: Netgear WNDR3700 600 Mbps DD-WRT Router with VPN

This model is discontinued. For other DD-WRT models, please check out our DD-WRT Routers Page.

If you were waiting for just the right DD-WRT Router bargain to fall into your lap then today is your lucky day.

While supplies last, FlashRouters is slashing the price on our most popular Netgear model, the Netgear WNDR3700 Rangemax N600 to $99.95.

*Note: This deal is expired*

Your eyes are not deceiving you. For $99.95, you can replace your downtrodden, underperforming, dying, outdated bore of a router for a sleek new networking centerpiece.

So you want specs and details too? Alright, we’ll give cave!

Netgear WNDR3700 FlashRouter Details:

These are Netgear WNDR3700 V1 routers with an Atheros AR7161 680 MHz chip, 64 MB RAM and 8 MB of Flash memory.

Featuring 8 Internal antennas, and compatible with all your 802.11 favorites a/b/g/h/n, the Netgear WNDR3700 offers transmission speeds of up to 600 Mbps. If you are more interested in the wired connectivity, the Netgear provides 4 Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000 Mbps).

And that’s not all, for under $100, this high-speed DD-WRT Router also offers a networked USB port to attach Network Attached Storage (NAS) backup and storage devices or to create a networked printer.

And for those wondering about green credentials, the WNDR3700 is a green compliant, certified by Energy Star!

For detailed product information, visit the Product Page: Netgear WNDR3700 DD-WRT Router.

The FlashRouter DD-WRT Advantage

Not only will you be purchasing a Netgear DD-WRT Router from FlashRouters, a high-speed router unleashed to its full potential but you will also receive superior services that no one else offers:

  • An Extensively Tested DD-WRT router.
  • Fast worldwide shipping via USPS.
  • Included Custom Configuration & Setup Guide: After each order, we contact you to see how you want the FlashRouter tailored to your network needs. Let us know what you want and we’ll do our best to make it happen.
  • Free Online Tech Support: To ensure your DD-WRT router and VPN service connection are up and running.
  • Free VPN Service Provider Integration: Configurations supported including but not limited to: NordVPN, Strong VPNIPVanish (PPTP only), VPNVIP, VyprVPN, PureVPN.

Looking for support for a different VPN provider or for help choosing the right router for you? Just open a support ticket or e-mail us!

Are you ready to step up and get a new router? Head over and snag your Netgear WNDR3700 DD-WRT Router with VPN today!

*This deal is expired*  Note: These prices are available on the Deal of the Week page through Wednesday May 9, 2012 or until supplies run out.

And how could we forget to plug the social media? For more DD-WRT & VPN Service Provider updates, product updates, and limited-time specials, follow us on Twitter @flashrouters or like us on Facebook.