You might not think that you need a VPN for Australia, but you do.
Although Australia is an ostensibly free country, there are laws and surveillance systems in place that present a clear and present threat to your privacy and online freedom.
You need a VPN for Australia for the following reasons:
- Data collection by Australian ISPs
- Domestic snooping from the Australian Secret Intelligence Service
- Harsh anti-piracy punishments
- Australian ISP website blocks
- Geoblocks on TV and streaming services
For starters, Australian ISPs (Internet Service Providers) record and log all of your data. By data, we mean every website you visit, every search term, and every conversation you have online. ISPs are not only allowed to spy on and log your internet data, they’re legally obligated to thanks to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015.
All the ISPs take part in this, and it’s highly likely you’ll recognise your own provider in the list of those monitoring your activity below:
- Aussie Broadband
- Tangerine Telecom
You might not know but the Australian government is also actively filtering your online content. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) can enforce censorship on any website it chooses and employ filtration technology. In other words: censorship is happening in Australia. Reporters Without Borders has even listed Australia as an “internet enemy,” and the country as “under surveillance.”
Australia is a major player in the Five Eyes mass surveillance apparatus. Along with the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, Australia trades information to keep tabs on its own citizens and store mass data. You’ve had no say over this, and this practice has even been declared illegal in the US.
Since 2001, Australia has adopted more new national security laws than any other liberal democracy in the world. These laws have been known to greatly impede journalism in the country and encourage more mass surveillance. Currently, Australian authorities can access your personal data without a judicial warrant and even share it with the tax authorities and local council.
These new laws, passed under the guise of national security, have quickly spiralled to restrict activity like posting protests against COVID-19 restrictions on Facebook or downloading copyrighted materials.
Australia has some of the harshest anti-piracy laws on the planet; individuals caught offering pirates materials could face a fine of AUD$117,000, or even a prison sentence.
Something called the Communications Alliance, made up of major ISPs and the government working in unison, have been actively seeking to crackdown on what it regards as illegitimate file sharing. In 2015, 4,726 unique Australian IP addresses were identified and sued by a Hollywood studio for torrenting the movie Dallas Buyers Club via BitTorrent.
In 2016, the Federal Court of Australia ordered 50 ISPs to ban certain websites after big movie studios like Disney, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox filed a lawsuit in Australian courts concerning copyright infringement.
Helping out those corporations, ISPs now frequently block sites such as Putlocker, RARBG, SolarMovie, IsoHunt, Demonoid, and alternate routes to PirateBay. As a result, there are now many hundreds of domains inaccessible in Australia.
Website blocks are enforced by Australian courts.
Because of these mandatory data retention schemes and scare tactics, VPN subscriptions have increased massively in Australia — 69% more since 2017. A VPN protects your right to privacy by changing your IP address and making your online searches private. It prevents spying and gets around unwarranted internet censorship in Australia.