Following the horrible terrorist attack in Christchurch on Friday, Australian ISPs have begun blocking access to websites that host footage of the attacks in an attempt to reduce hate speech and maintain civility in a troubling time.
Access to websites such as 4chan, 8chan, video hosting platform LiveLeak, community platform Voat among others have been blocked in order to prevent escalating tensions between communities and to prevent inspiring further events.
Websites, in particular sites such as 4chan and 8chan have a very heavy meme culture with very light moderation which can result in racist and extremist propaganda and has been becoming an increasing issue. “The capacity for semi-ironic meme culture to radicalise members of the far-right needs to be addressed,” says Monash University senior media lecturer Andy Ruddock. ISPs such as Telstra, Vodafone and Optus have blocked access to sites which are not making the effort to remove footage of the attacks.
However, as most internet users know online communities and the memes they produce can be a comfort for those experiencing stress in their daily life. Read on if your form of coping involves connecting to others through the internet.
While the decision to block access to the sites is purely good intentioned, you may still want to access them. If you have been inconvenienced by the blocks as you are a regular user of one of the blocked websites, or you seek access as a way to deal with the events that have occurred, then luckily the blocks are easily circumvented.
Simply by using a VPN with servers in another country you can bypass the region lock set by Australian providers.
A quick Google for “VPN” will provide you with a plethora of options. Essentially, they all function work they same, but as you'll see from our user reviews some are better than others.
A VPN will provide you with an encrypted connection to their server in whatever country you choose and change your IP address to that location, so essentially it appears that you are accessing the internet from a different country. This is how it allows you to bypass region locks and internet restrictions.
Hopefully the quick action of the New Zealand government will ensure no more hateful acts and crimes such as this will be committed.