I Am A Person, Not An IP Address

Some of you may remember a very famous TV show from the 1960s called the Prisoner. In it the hero is kidnapped and awakes in a strange place called the Village, here he is known only by his number.

No.2: “Six. For official purposes, everyone has a number. Yours is number 6.”
No.6: “I am not a number, I am a person.”

Now you probably all know that when you connect up online that you are assigned an IP address which is your 'number' whilst using the web.   But what many people are unaware of is that the number that you are assigned will ultimately control what you can do online.

In fact the comparison with the Prisoner continues especially if you are unfortunate to have to use the web in a country like Iran, Burma or China.  Extensive filtering, censoring and monitoring is par for the course.  ISPs are controlled, Internet cafes bullied into spying on their customers and keeping extensive records on what they did online.

These are of course the extreme examples but even in so called free and unrestrictive countries, your options are still limited by that little number you are assigned when you connect.   You'll probably notice it more if you travel - here's some of the things I have been blocked whilst travelling which made me take action!

Youtube - This is blocked in so many places, and even if it isn't lots of the content will be restricted.  You just click to watch a particular video and are greeted by the following screen
Which is really annoying, often it will happen most to people outside their native country because a US person abroad will try and access US content but his IP address decides he's a different nationality.  I get it mostly from when I am in Turkey as YouTube has been blocked for a couple of years (allegedly because some Greeks posted videos calling Turks homosexuals and insulting their founder - you couldn't make this stuff  up!).  Although I am pleased to say this particular stupid ban has been recently lifted.

Gambling Sites - Now I'm not a big gambler but I do like a little flutter on the odd game and occasionally a game of online poker or roulette.  But unfortunately all the sites I use - Betfair and a Live Roulette Site in Dublin - carefully selected by me because they're one of the few ones online I trust - are not accessible from France and the USA.  The reasons?  Well France recently passed some sort of online gaming law which I don't pretend to understand and the US has similarly perplexing online restrictions on gambling online.
So it doesn't matter that I'm neither French or American, my IP address stops me accessing my accounts in these two countries.

BBC Iplayer, Hulu, Pandora etc - But of course the big annoyances for me and many other people are the problems watching BBC Iplayer and some of the US sites like Hulu and NBC.   Sure they're on the internet - but you can't watch them, well not if you happen to be in the wrong place.

Fortunately there are ways of hiding your IP address from snoopers and allowing you to surf without these restrictions.  It really does open up the internet in so many ways, especially if you happen to be in one of those countries who  have decided to become the policemen of the web.

 Which is why anonymous surfing is so important, not only so people can't monitor and log what you do online but also so you can watch or surf wherever you want!

In the words of Patrick Magoohan when he arrived in the Village -

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own.”
Well said, so I suggest if you want to access whatever you like, investigate the world of anonymous proxies and secure VPNs.   I personally recommend Identity Cloaker because it's by far the best value, the speed and their vast network of servers across the world but there are lots of other options available now like Tor and others.