Driven by particular demand in Arab countries, worldwide virtual private network (VPN) downloads reached 277 million in 2020, according to research by technology provider Atlas VPN.
According to data based on the company’s VPN Adoption index, it was not surprising to find that technology preventing the tracking of users’ online activities from parties such as hackers, internet service providers (ISPs) or probably more likely government agencies would find favour in territories such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia. In these four countries, on average VPNs penetrated 44.75% of the market over the past 12 months.
Indeed, Atlas VPN said it was possible to correlate a country’s VPN adoption rate with how strict the internet censorship and other online restrictions are in that country. Most of these countries, it added, ban any content that is against Islam values or criticises the government.
The leading country in terms of VPN adoption was the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a 61.61% penetration rate in the year 2020. More than 9.89 million virtual private network downloads originated from the country.
Offering reasons as to why this uptake was so large, Atlas VPN observed that the government employs stringent internet