November 29 2022 3:18 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

VPN and the gift of digital ubiquity

Jean Claude Elias
Jean-Claude Elias is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years.(File photo: Jordan News)
In the Midst of the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases, the digital and online world came as a blessing. It remains unparalleled in terms of convenience and efficiency if smartly and safely used. This holds true for work and entertainment alike.اضافة اعلان

In terms of market value, the numbers are mindboggling. Alliedmarketresearch.com estimates that “the online entertainment market size was valued at $183.1 billion in 2019, and is estimated to reach $652.5 billion by 2027,” a value that is anything but negligible.

Whether you are playing online games and competing with other people somewhere in the world or watching streamed audio, video, or live sports events, the web wants to know where you are. Your geographic location matters to those providing you the service.

Your location matters for many reasons, the first being statistics; for understandable marketing purposes, providers need to know how many people are currently watching the show and where. This knowledge directly impacts decisions such as what content to stream, subtitles, commercials, demographics, and more.

It also has to do with payments, royalties, copyright, fees collected, currencies used, and other similar matters that are region-based. These may vary significantly from one location to another.

The service, the party, or the website you connect to can tell your location from your computer’s Internet IP address or browser. This is an automatic, transparent process that runs in the background, and there is not much you can do about it. Or can you?

Disclosing your location is, in itself, a good thing, but the risk that it can come with is that, in some cases, revealing it would work against you.
Whether you are playing online games and competing with other people somewhere in the world or watching streamed audio, video, or live sports events, the web wants to know where you are. Your geographic location matters to those providing you the service.
So, let us say you are in Jordan, but the game or the movie you want to can only be streamed or downloaded from Europe. Or, your streaming video service that you subscribed to from Jordan will not let you watch movies simply because you are traveling for a few days and are now in another country, and your device is displaying an IP address that clearly shows you are not in Jordan.

This is where virtual private network (VPN) software would come to the rescue.

Once you install a VPN application, you are given the choice of selecting the general location, the country, and the city you want to appear in, and, consequently, you will display a corresponding IP address to the other party. In short, despite you being physically in Jordan, you will appear to be in, say, Amsterdam, Netherlands, or any other country of your choice due to the VPN application.

The first question that may come to mind is, “is VPN legal”?

According to tomsguide.com, a reference technology site, and citing as an example ExpressVPN, one of the best and most popular VPN software applications: “ExpressVPN does protect your internet visits and downloads. It is safe to use for legal activity. Owning it and running it on your laptop is not illegal. If you visit a foreign country, it is likely not illegal to have it installed.” It adds: “While ExpressVPN is perfectly legal, using it for illegal activity can only lead to problems eventually.”

So, VPN software allows you to be in several places at once, or at least to virtually travel from one country to another in a second and, in a way, give you digital ubiquity.

What about cost? Is VPN free? Whereas some of these applications are free, the best, those who really are reliable and fast, are not. ExpressVPN, for one, costs $100 a year for the average subscription plan. The price tag on good VPN services shows that using VPN is not about “avoiding paying money where it is due”, but about being able to watch and play online, from wherever you be in the world, even if it is only while traveling for a few days outside your home country.



The writer is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years.


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