As more of our lives move online, then digital privacy becomes a much more important issue. It’s an often overlooked issue, yet the dangers are very real indeed. Particularly in the case of young people who are often far too open with personal details than they should be on various social media sites.
However it’s not just younger people many of us are guilty of oversharing particularly on sites like Facebook where there is virtually no anonymity. After all I wonder how many people are aware that by sharing their holiday details online not only are they increasing their risk of their home being burgled but also possibly invalidating their home insurance. That’s right, announcing to all and sundry that your house is empty could possibly invoke a clause in most insurance policies that you ‘take reasonable care’ in securing your property.
This sort of stuff though is fairly easy to control, just think twice about posting personal information and remember that anything you do post is probably accessible to the world. However there is another side of online privacy which we have virtually no control over and why you should consider using an IP cloaker when you’re online.
Of course, I’m referring to your unique identifier online, your IP (Internet Protocol) address. That little number which is allocated to you when you connect to the internet and is then used to track, monitor, filter and block your online access.
Unfortunately you must have an IP address or the internet simply won’t work. Yet having a unique number assigned to your connection means that you have virtually no privacy. At your ISP a series of logs exist which basically list everything you do online, every web site you visit, video you download or message you send. These have been expanded over the years and in response to the Government’s Investigatory Powers Act 2016.
Now you might be a little more pragmatic than me, and perhaps consider that it’s ok for the Government to have access to your entire internet history – after all we have nothing to hide. However it’s not just them, marketing companies and web sites track your visits customizing your browsing and stuffing adverts wherever you go. Cyber criminals and hackers monitor your connection especially when you use unknown and highly insecure Wifi access points in cafes, hotels and other public location.
Why People Use an IP Cloaker
However forget about all these, there is one main reason that people use some sort of IP cloaker and this is to avoid the blocks and filters that are all over the internet. Ranging from the sort of filtering enacted on a country level to individual websites who restrict access based on location (which is determined from your IP address). Almost everyone has encountered this from when you’ve clicked on a YouTube video to be told – sorry not available in your country.
Worse still when you sit down to enjoy your favorite TV channel online and discover you’re in the wrong country. For me I can still remember missing ‘Match of the Day’ on a Saturday night just because I was stuck in a hotel on a Belgium Industrial estate and hence BBC iPlayer no longer worked.
It’s this region locking that drives people mostly to use IP cloaking programs because you can simply bypass all these restrictions. Personally for me it means when I’m travelling I can access every single UK TV station online simply by hiding my real location and pretending I’m in the UK. Others will connect to US, French or Canadian servers in order to access the websites they want and so on – here’s an example of how an IP cloaker works.
As you can see if you use the right sort of VPN service then you can change your IP address location at will. So as long as you know which country is required you can switch to that location when desired. As previously mentioned, for me it’s to switch to a UK IP address whenever I’m travelling, although I also use US and Canadian servers to change my Netflix locale too.
It’s not only restricted to computers and laptops either, you can use this particular VPN service on mobile devices too like tablets and smart phone. You’ll need to set up the VPN connections individually but they only take a few minutes each and you can then use the associated media apps when connected as well. Just create the VPN connection to the required server enter your Identity Cloaker username and password and then enable it when you need it. If you need extra security you can enable the IP address changer to switch automatically every few minutes, which makes your connection even more secure.
It’s pretty straight forward to bypass most of these blocks although in the last few years there have been some complications. Some media companies have started to try and block access from these VPN services – because obviously an IP address cloaker switches control back to the user. So although a properly configured VPN cannot be detected, companies like the BBC have been identifying them by looking at IP addresses with too many concurrent connections on them. It does mean that many VPN services don’t now work with BBC iPlayer although the bigger companies like Identity Cloaker are still fine.
This crackdown does mean that unfortunately none of the free methods work anymore, either because they are not configured securely or the number of connections on each server means they are easy to identify and block. So I’m afraid you won’t be able to watch BBC iPlayer abroad free anymore for example.
If you are particularly interested in a certain channel or media site then make sure you either ask the company first or try a trial account, many media channels have been adding other restrictions and it changes all the time. At the time of writing for example Netflix will only allow specific connections from residential IP addresses and only a couple of VPN services like Identity Cloaker have these.
You can get access here – IDC for just a few Euros.