Bypassing localities: shifting Internet access to join intercultural communication

Hanna Kreitem

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Internet users resort to using proxies and Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to masquerade access and Internet activity to appear as if they are accessing the Internet from a location other than theirs, and possibly hide their activity from local network operators, ISP, and even government, to bypass immediat Internet limitations, and access the open Internet. Or so I thought, until data collected for my research on Internet artificial limitations and how they affect tangible outcomes of Internet use, showed an interesting aspect that shifted my attention. I have collected data from Estonia and Bahrain, two countries that are similar in terms of demographics and Internet penetration, but sit on the opposing ends of Internet freedom and openness scales. It was expected that people in Bahrain would have higher use of proxies and VPN to circumvent Internet limitations and information controls, however, data from over 100 users in each country showed that users in Estonia use of proxies and VPN reach

60%, a rate 10% higher than it is in Bahrain. This triggered a research question that I am trying to answer in this submission, why would people with open and unfettered access to the Internet use circumvention tools to bypass their localities this significantly.

The submission tried to find this out by a follow-up survey and interviews with people from both countries, crossed with a look at limitations as perceived by users. Moreover, try to outline motivation for people to invest in effort, and sometimes money, to bypass their local Internet, and access websites and services through other geographical locations, in a manner that would shuffle geolocation of users, redefining access maps. This issue is suspected to be affected by intercultural communication that motivated users to channel their presence through other localities, to shift their location in response to intercultural communication needs. The research is quantitative in essence, with possible interviews to obtain in-depth points of view.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018
Event7th European Communication Conference (ECC): Centres and Peripheries: Communication, Research, Translation - Lugano, Switzerland
Duration: 31 Oct 20183 Nov 2018


Conference7th European Communication Conference (ECC)
Abbreviated titleECREA 2018
Internet address


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