From 13 April 2017, all Australian telecommunication providers are required to collect your metadata and provide it to your Government. Many interactions we have in the digital world are being collected and stored by our communications providers, all without adequate safeguards. This program requires no warrants, has very little oversight and has received condemnation from human rights experts worldwide.

That’s why we’re declared this Thursday as a national day of action – we’re calling upon Australian citizens to educate themselves about the scale of this surveillance and take precautions accordingly. If the government wants to surveil its citizens, then we’ll do everything in our power to equip people to circumvent that surveillance.

We declare Thursday 13 April to be National Get A VPN Day.

It’s time to protect yourself. It’s time to get a VPN.


Step 1: know what a VPN is and why you need one

A Virtual Private Network (VPN), is a service that encrypts the traffic going to and from your computer. Under normal circumstances, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can witness, collect and store all of this traffic as it passes through their servers. By using a VPN, your ISP only sees one source of traffic – the VPN. Since the mandatory data retention scheme relies on your ISP handing over this data to the government, you can stop this happening even before it begins.

Put simply, a VPN is a paid service for funnelling your digital life through a handy opaque pipe, free from the prying eyes of your government.

For more information, have a read of this overview from LifeHacker or this from Wired.

Step 2: find yourself a good VPN

As with any service provider, it’s hard to figure out which is the best one for you. And we’re not in the business of necessarily endorsing any one brand. But what we can do is point you in the right direction.

When choosing a VPN provider, it’s important to take into account the key issue relevant to government surveillance: do you trust the company providing the service? Do they make it part of their privacy policy to not keep access logs of your interactions with their service? Do they operate within the jurisdiction of one of the Five Eyes countries? Do they have a history of handing over user data to governments when compelled to do so? Do they accept Bitcoin or other anonymous payment types?

Here’s a list of lists that could also be useful in your selection of a VPN provider:

Step 3: help us spread the word about National #GetaVPN Day

A major concern that we have about the mandatory data retention scheme is that the majority of Australians are unaware of the scale of these operations. Huge amounts of their personal data is being hoovered up in the name of national security, and it’s time they understood how to protect themselves. You can help us get the word out.

  1. Change your social media profile picture to support our #GetaVPN campaign
  2. Help spread the word on Twitter
  3. Help spread the word on Facebook


Step 4: tell your elected MPs what you think of mandatory data retention

Would you like to know which MPs voted in favour of mass warrantless surveillance of Australian citizens? They Vote For You have put that together for you.

Or perhaps it’s more interesting to note which MPs voted against government agencies needing a warrant to access citizens’ metadata?

Elected democracies are a wonderful thing, because you can drop these MPs an email or ring their office to let them know how you feel about their voting histories on this matter.


9 thoughts to “Get a VPN

  • Steph

    Nice post. step1 &2: Basically, if the government and ISPs themselves weren’t involved in it directly, just using your Google Chrome or Firefox in private/incognito mode would have been enough but since that’s clearly not the case here, VPNs like ivacy, express and nord would seem to be the only possible solution

    Step3: I’m sharing it as we speak.

    Step 4: Let’s just say it’s a shame that we, the users have to resort to stuff that kinda puts us on a crossroad with the government and the ISPs.

  • Cosy Cool

    I tried 3 different VPNs recently. My ADSL speed here in the glorious cable free zone of Australistan is 13mbps usually, around 2-3mbps on a VPN i.e. useless except for email. Now what?

  • Emily Jones

    he best way to keep your self protected is through a VPN, a lot of people would argue about its legitimacy and reinforce that metadata retention law is to be used in federal court proceedings to counter terrorism and cyber criminal activities. Do not forget the US did the same and they landed every common internet user to the dirt of user profiling i.e. the business of selling users online data such as browsing history, internet spending or purchasing power, preferences, health & other significant information.

    If these ISPs mandated to keep a log of our data then they could use it for the mentioned commercial uses without any reason. How can the govt. restrict them not to use this information. Having said that, a good niche in Australia knows how to deal with metadata retention and related laws: (Learn How:

  • John Herres

    Okay, so how about a good free one for those of us who have no income? I tried Windscribe, and it wrecked my Internet experience.
    Or are there no reputable free options?

  • Simon Dunn

    I use and can highly recommend PIA VPN : It’s cheap and very easy to set up and has apps for iOs and Android as well.

  • Justin

    I use and can strongly recommend them. Their support helped me a lot to get started with VPN and set it up on all my devices. Now only my smart fridge needs vpn as well!

    @John Herres, there is no such thing like free cake. Furthermore Windscribe logs your connection data and keeps logs. You can get a free VPN but if you put some thought into it how it can be free you will quickly find out why that can’t work out. Bandwidth and server maintenance is expensive so the company offering that must have some way to make money. So they either inject advertisement into your traffic or sell your traffic in one way or another.

  • jw

    d/l the TOR browser

  • add

    I use a free service….

    its called ” use someone else’s computer”

  • Sabrina

    Can I please ask a quick question… hiding from your local parliamentarian may be one thing, I’m not too concerned about my government, it’s other data collection places, sales agencies etc. Would a VPN protect me from those who want to sell my private information to third parties, or advertisement websites? If so, I’m keen.

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