Middle East nations took seven of the top 10 slots in a ranking of the top blockers of virtual private networks (VPNs) globally, according to an investigative report released on Tuesday.
The report by the nonprofit monitoring site Top10VPN relied on data from more than 100 countries collected from Jan. 1 to May 15 by the censorship watchdog Open Observatory of Network Interference. The report focused on access to the most common privacy tool for internet users.
China came in first, blocking about 73% of all attempts to access VPN providers, while Iran blocked 69% and several Gulf Arab countries followed.
VPNs and other privacy tools allow internet users to bypass firewalls, keep their data more secure and hide their internet protocol addresses — an online identification code — from government agencies, corporations and hackers.