Shortly after arriving back in China, I climbed into a taxi with Justin and took a picture of Elijah and myself. My intention was to quickly upload it to Facebook to let our loved ones – all over the world – that we were safely back at home. That is, after all, the quickest and easiest way to let all of our friends and family know that we are well. After two, very comfortable, months in the States, I had somehow forgotten that things don’t work that easily around these parts of the world! I tried over and over again to load the image and status update, and then suddenly I remembered that I needed a VPN to get onto Facebook. That’s usually no problem since my husband is a wiz at these things, and he always has me set up and ready to go on all my devices. However it seems that while I was away, China stepped up their censoring and have now even blocked a few VPN service providers. Did I loose a few of you there? – What the heck is a VPN?
A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet. VPNs are most often used by corporations to protect sensitive data. However, using a personal VPN is increasingly becoming more popular as more interactions that were previously face-to-face transition to the Internet. Privacy is increased with a VPN because the user’s initial IP address is replaced with one from the VPN provider. This method allows subscribers to attain an IP address
from any gateway city the VPN service provides. For instance, you may live in San Francisco, but with a VPN, you can appear to live in Amsterdam, New York, or any number of gateway cities.
There you go, now you know what I am on about. Basically, here in China, there isn’t the normal freedom to view whatever websites you like. This doesn’t sound too bad for some, but for the rest of us, who heavily rely on Google, Facebook, Blogger and other social networking sites to keep up communications with loved ones, this can be very frustrating. For those that were wondering why we arrived on Saturday and we have mentioned nothing until Wednesday, now you know. I couldn’t even access my gmail account to send out an email. We just got our VPN up and running again, but I’m sure we will have to keep jumping through loops since China is always onto us. Thankfully I am no longer using Blogger, so I can blog without a vpn. If You haven’t heard from us in a few days, come have a look at our blog for updates… We might just be blocked from other communication avenues.