Qatar named top VPN downloader as users attempt to circumvent internet restrictions – Doha News
The VPN has proven useful for people living in countries where internet usage is restricted.
Qatar tops the country with the highest percentage of VPN app downloads for the first half of 2021, according to Atlas VPN.
A Report on the VPN Adoption Index showed that virtual private network (VPN) downloads increased dramatically, from 277 million to more than 616 million in the last six months globally.
The study shows that the numbers have almost tripled since 2020. Proportionally, VPN app usage in Qatar is the highest, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
The top 10 list consists mostly of Arab countries, where governments tend to restrict internet usage and censor useful apps.
On the other hand, only 4.19% of the population of European countries such as France, ranked 57th, have downloaded the application.
“In Qatar, we never needed to use VPN until 2017 when the blockade happened,” said Rashid Al Kuwari, a Qatari cartoonist who spoke about the restrictions on certain apps.
Al-Kuwari said censorship of video phone calls in Qatar could be linked to the 2017 Gulf conflict and was imposed to allow the government to monitor anti-Qatar conversations.
Also read: How Arab regimes used Israeli spyware to spy on activists and journalists
VPN allows users to bypass restrictions on VoIP services – short for Voice over Internet Protocol – available on WhatsApp, Skype and other apps.
“There has been no blocking announcement on any telecommunications company or even on the Ministry of Communications,” he added, however, “tThe funny thing is, everyone uses the VPN, so there’s no point in blocking these apps.”
Some social media apps like Facebook and WhatAapp use end-to-end encryption to protect user privacy. This prevents governments and non-governmental organizations from spying on users’ conversations, messages or video calls.
According to the report, almost one in two residents in Qatar downloaded a VPN in the first half of this year.
“VPN adoption refers to the percentage of the country’s population that downloaded VPN apps throughout the specified time period,” the report explains.
The top 10 countries with the most people downloading the VPN are Qatar (44.4%), United Arab Emirates (39.9%), Singapore (29.5%), India (25.2% ), Oman (24.7%), Saudi Arabia (23.1%). ), Kuwait (18.7%), Lebanon (17.6%), Pakistan (16.6%) and Algeria (16.1%).
One of the reasons for the high percentage of VPN usage and downloads in Qatar could be due to the large number of expats in the country who have no choice but to activate the VPN to contact their family there. ‘foreigner.
VPN allows users to exercise their rights to communicate with others online while hiding their IP address, which means protecting their identity and location and preventing a third party from tracking their online activity.
“ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in most Arab countries prohibit any information that violates the moral principles of Islam, with pornographic websites being the main target. Additionally, ISPs restrict politically sensitive topics, especially those critical of the government,” the report notes.