One thing I always remember from holidays of yesteryear is how completely out of touch you felt with current affairs. Especially if you went abroad, you’d get back and ask if anything had happened – cocooned completely from news events by a fortnight in the sun. If you went for longer, then you’d get into week 2 and start to get desperate, perhaps rumors of a shock football result or celebrity scandal would drive you into the hotel shops where you’d find a three day old Daily Mirror for sale at ten times the normal price!
Of course, it’s all changed now – when we go on holiday we have our phones, laptops and tablets and of course the internet. There is no doubt that communication levels have changed completely from our daily interactions with the world wide web. However it’s still not completely straight forward because of a strange practice called region locking which automatically links your physical location to what you can see online.
You may have seen this happen when you open a search engine like Google whilst travelling, it will automatically redirect you to the local version of the search engine. It does this by looking up your IP address to determine your location then redirecting you to the appropriate page. Unfortunately it also used to block access and thousands of web sites use it to restrict their sites to people based in certain locations including the BBC.
The BBC will route any non-UK connection through to the International version of their website, which is basically another site with all the good bits and programmes removed. So for instance the wonderful feature that allows you to stream any BBC programme live on your laptop doesn’t work on the international version. This is a huge disappointment if you settle down on holiday intending to watch BBC World News streaming and find that it simply won’t work despite you being a long holding UK TV license holder.
Fortunately there are now solutions involving hiding your true location by using a VPN connection. This works as an effective IP Cloaker because the website only sees the location of the VPN server and not your real address. Many people have been using these for many years both to supply some privacy online and to access the many websites which block content depending on your physical location.