Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Human Rights, Wiranto, on Wednesday, said the government would limit access to social media and messaging applications in the next two to three days to prevent the spread of incitement and hoaxes.
However, news is circulating among netizens in Indonesia that using a VPN application can help overcome these restrictions.
Are VPNs really that powerful? But, what is a VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Its purpose is to provide security and keep your secret when communicating on the internet.
According to ZDNet , VPNs provide a private channel in the wild jungle of the internet. In other words, your communication via VPN will ideally be protected because it is delivered through a special line that is kept secret.
However, VPNs - like all products in the world - have their limitations.
How do VPNs work?
VPNs are made so that internet users can send and receive data securely and with an anonymous identity.VPN works by masking or disguising information sent via the internet, including the IP address of the computer or mobile phone that you use to communicate or access social media.
In other words, a VPN can disguise and hide your tracks, so that telecommunications providers cannot detect where you are accessing a social media application or other service on the internet.
It's no wonder that many Indonesian netizens use VPN applications to outsmart the government's blocking of porn sites.
Then, is a VPN safe?
A January 2019 study showed that most free VPN apps on Android and iOS phones are believed to have stolen and collected users' personal data and information without permission.
These applications are generally based in China and collect user data and then sell it to third parties.
In addition, VPN applications can also be used by irresponsible parties to plant malware or malicious programs on your cellphone.
According to ZDNet , VPN operations are expensive because they require expensive infrastructure to operate, from the network to the servers. Therefore, free VPB applications are suspect.