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VPN in Uganda a curse and a blessing in disguise

Story by BECKY KISOZI NALUYIMA

When I heard the word VPN, it struck my mind straight away.WHATS VPN? A person may not really know what exactly it is.

VPN is Virtual Private Network and it’s the latest free to access  service that opens or decrypts blocked applications, sites, links and urls without any subscription, it keeps your service and enables users to unblock all web sites with just a tap.

VPN is now the talk and walk all over the streets of Kampala and the country at large, if you dont have VPN enabled Phone then you are not trending. HOW IT CAME TO EXISTANCE? VPN came to be the talk and walk in Uganda as soon as the tax policy of paying 200sh was out in that every Ugandan had to first pay tax before accessing the social media platforms.

The taxes were of the President’s directive and that sparked off the slogan of OTT

The taxes were a president’s directive that sparked off the slogan OTT (over the top media services). This simply means that without VPN, OTT is nowhere.

Most of the youths and other people in the country were not ready to pay the 200sh daily for the tax imposed on social media platforms say whatsapp, Facebook, twitter and many others.

So VPN was the talk in order to dodge the taxes. It can be used even if the OTT hasn’t been cleared and this apparently works out well for the youths and all people who cant do without Social Media.

How does VPN work? The first thing you need to do to use a VPN is find a VPN provider. Once you have signed up you will get access to some login information including your credentials (username/password) and a list of servers. The servers will be dotted around the world and you need to pick which servers to use, according to your needs or let the network select the best Automically.

How it can be used? VPN is just a click away on your smart phone or any other gadget. The app is found on Google play store and there are varieties of VPN, commonly VPN free is almost every one’s choice since it requires little space to be installed.

What are the sort comings of VPN? VPNs are a great solution to the privacy issues I have outlined, however VPNs aren’t a perfect solution, there are a few negative aspects. First of all speed. Since you are intentionally sending your data half-way around the world before it even gets a chance to head off toward the right server then VPN connection speeds will be slower than your normal, non-VPN connection. Also your VPN provider will only have a certain amount of resources. If the VPN server is overloaded, because there are too many clients and not enough servers, then connections speeds will drop. The same is true for server bandwidth.

Secondly, VPN connections can drop unexpectedly since your gadget is searching for the best and fast it will keeping jumping from one server to the other, and if you dont notice that the VPN is no longer active you might keep using the Internet thinking your privacy is safe, but it isn’t.

Thirdly, the use of VPNs is outlawed in some countries, precisely because they offer anonymity, privacy, and encryption.

Lastly, some online services have a system to detect the use of VPNs and if they think someone is connecting via a VPN they can block access. For example, Netflix has made a lot of noise about blocking VPN users.

VPN requires data before you use it, one should have data bundles and according to the current situation on the social media tax, VPN gives you access to all the media sites without any OTT ported with.

As the talk goes on, many people believe that VPN has helped not to be ‘robbed’ of their money and they believe that OTT is basically for the top government officials to earn from it.

VPN unlike OTT gives a chance to be on social media without any doubt whether your data bundles aren’t functioning.

It has been on research that the OTT functions up to midnight then one has to port 200sh for another subscription. This is not fair to people and  they end up using VPN since it gives them the time and go beyond midnight since most of them prefer being online all the night more so the youths.

The more Ugandans use VPN service, it’s a disservice to the Uganda Revenue Authority and the country at large as billions of money were expected to be collected the tax but the expected amount is not realized.

For that factor the government ordered the telecommunication company to block VPN of which this is impossible since it’s used to dodge the tax and government’s collection as estimated are not yielded to the maximum.

VPN remains the talk of the Ugandans who are using internet and the ball is in your hands to either port with 200sh daily or to port with VPN.

To my side I have the answer right within myself. For the good of our country I port with the 200sh but for the good of my income I port with VPN. Long live VPN, Long live OTT.

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