Congo Top VPN, Legality, Stats, and Recommendations
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the richest country in the world when it comes to natural resources. Its untapped deposits of raw minerals are estimated to be worth more than $24 trillion USD.
The country goes by multiple names, from Zaire to East Congo. It is the second-largest country in Africa and the fourth most populated. While there are more than 86 million citizens, less than 5.3 million people have access to the Internet. That’s only 6.2 percent of the population.
Despite a large number of natural resources, Congo is still underdeveloped. Political instability is one of the main reasons for this and it directly affects the Internet. Freedom of the press is also heavily limited in Congo. To protect yourself online, it is advisable to use a VPN in the DRC. In this article, we will take a closer look at why you should use a VPN in Congo.
Is it Legal to Use a VPN in Congo?
It is legal to use a VPN in the DRC. However, social media blocks and Internet shutdowns are very common. There is active censoring of the Internet, which is a primary reason why you should use a VPN.
Why Use a VPN in Congo?
Digital Privacy Rights
Privacy rights are a serious concern in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Internet and SMS services are frequently shut down, especially in times of political unrest. Activists say a law from 2002 is used to defend government interference in the telecommunications sector. The law states that the government can take charge of community facilities in the interest of national security and public defense.
When the government shuts down the Internet, a VPN can establish a connection to a server in a different country.
Freedom of the press is part of the constitution, but the government does not always follow these laws exactly. In fact, at the beginning of 2019, the government implemented a 20-day Internet shutdown.
There is a real threat of being arrested, beaten, or jailed for sharing your opinions. Many journalists and activists are restricted in the stories that they are allowed to tell.
Many of the DRC’s censorship tactics are aimed at political dissidents. ISPs are known to comply with government requirements to cease communication services. The only way to circumvent surveillance is to use a VPN and switch the location of your IP address. If you are one of the citizens who have Internet access at home and you don’t have to use a cybercafe, a VPN is essential. You should also consider the use of a VPN on your mobile device.
Protection on Public WiFi
There are 998 mobile free WiFi hotspots in the capital city of Kinshasa. With about 40 percent of the population with a mobile subscription, the chances that a citizen of the DRC will log into one of these networks is quite high.
Public Wi-Fi is dangerous because these networks are often unencrypted and unsecured. Without protection in place, your information is easily accessible to both government officials and hackers. Hackers often will set up a hotspot between your mobile device and the place which you are trying to connect to. Any information that you send will be collected before it is routed to its intended destination. Credit card information, bank information, and other sensitive data can fall into the wrong hands without VPN protection.
According to Transparency International, Congo ranks 165 out of 180 for corruption. The chances that someone is out to steal your information is high, so you need to protect yourself.
Dangers of VPN Usage in the Democratic Republic of Congo
VPN services are still fairly new to the DRC. Most of the population was unaware of them until the government shut down the Internet. A VPN does not completely eliminate privacy risk, but it does add some serious protection.
During uncertain times, a VPN can help you circumnavigate government regulations. There have been no arrests made so far in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the use of a VPN.
Internet Speed and VPN Accessibility
As of January 2020, the Democratic Republic of Congo ranks 123rd out of 190 countries for average mobile connection speeds. The average download speed is 13.64 megabits per second (Mbps). The average upload speed is 8.08 Mbps.
The country ranks 170 for fixed broadband speeds. The average download speed is 6.32 (Mbps) and the average upload speed is 4.68 (Mbps)
There are 2.4 million mobile social media users, with a penetration rate of 2.8 percent. Digital growth is low, remaining under ten percent except for social media users. Social growth is up an average of 23 percent.
Currently, the closest VPN servers are located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Because of government surveillance and Internet shutdowns, the use of a local IP address would not be helpful anyway. To circumvent these tactics, you will need to spoof your location to a different country with less restrictive laws.
What to Look for in a Congo VPN
What are the qualities to look for in a VPN you wish to use in the Democratic Republic of Congo? Factors that you should consider include:
- Fast connection speeds – The Democratic Republic of Congo has some of the slowest Internet speeds in the world. You need a VPN with fast speeds, otherwise your connection will be severely affected. Free VPNs do have some positive features, but you should consider using a quality, paid option in the DRC.
- Logging – Many VPN providers actively discard their user’s information. Certain providers, however, are required to keep information for future use by law enforcement. Depending on the location of the VPN, they might not have any legal requirements to hold information. In Panama, for instance, this is the case. Make sure the VPN you use does not keep a record of your online information.
- Ability to unblock geo-blocked content – Distribution and licensing agreements to limit the streaming catalog that is available in DRC. If you wish to stream Disney+, Netflix, or BBC iPlayer, you need a VPN. Before committing to a service, test out providers to see if they fit your needs. Many paid VPNs offer a money-back guarantee or trial period.
- Multiple servers – Access to a large number of servers spread around the world helps to create a better online experience. Censorship, limited political freedom, and surveillance are common in many underdeveloped nations. Route your IP to a country that supports digital privacy to access every part of the Internet. Having many different server locations also helps eliminate overcrowding, which slows servers. With Internet speeds already so low, it’s important to not slow your connection down any further.
The threat of Internet freedom in the Democratic Republic of Congo is very high. Political instability and a government that makes its own rules creates an uncertain Internet environment. In addition to censorship measures, the Internet can be shut down without warning. A VPN can help you during these times by routing your IP address to another country. It can also add security whether you use the Internet on a mobile device or at home. Protect your data and online traffic every time you log online with a VPN in the Democratic Republic of Congo.