Users of VPN and privacy software have increased in Cuba as authorities disrupt Internet access to crack down on protesters.
There have been over 34,000 more downloads of the free VPN-like service Psiphon compared to the two weeks before the incident, the independent media organization Inventario reported. Around 89,000 Cubans installed the software on their device in order to circumvent restrictions.
Early in the morning of July 15, a wave of internet disruptions spread across the country as a way to silence protesters. Starting in Pinar Del Río and then spreading up to the capital Havana, Cubans took to the streets to talk about months of food, medicine, fuel and electricity shortages that paralyze the island.
Internet shutdowns are a growing problem worldwide, with authoritarian authorities using them to restrict communication – especially during protests or elections. This is why people have learned to turn on one of the best VPN services to mitigate the effects and access censored sites like social media platforms.
With the addition of #internet to the madrugada of July 15th, the amount of active users of the VPN @PsiphonInc in #Cuba has increased dramatically this day: 33,000 more than the previous day (34,500 more habitats of cantid2s) weeks) #KeepitOn pic .twitter.com/RZvny4GQ2cJuly 17, 2022
Why is Psiphon so popular in Cuba?
Developed by researchers at Citizen Lab in 2007 to support users living under limited Internet freedom, Psiphon is a workaround software that allows users to bypass Internet censorship.
It is completely free and open source, and combines secure communication and obfuscation technologies. It uses VPN, SSH and web proxy software to beat tough firewalls that other services fail to bypass.
Psiphon works by redirecting web traffic to prevent filtering machines from filtering your web activities. At the same time, it masks your traffic so that it appears as a connection that is not subject to the restrictions in place.
The software is available for Android, Windows and iOS. The free version comes with unlimited bandwidth and no registration required, but it has a speed limit of 2 Mbps. You can also upgrade to Psiphon Pro for $ 9.99 monthly, or a whopping $ 8.33 a month on the annual plan.
But if you want to invest some money, there are better cheap VPN services we would recommend. Our number 1 on that list is Surfshark, for example, which comes down to a monthly fee of $ 2.30 when you sign up for a two-year plan.
There are also lots of free VPN apps around. Remember to read our guide before you choose. Many of these services may either expose your data or fail to unblock censored websites. At the time of writing, Proton VPN Free is our favorite.