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Proton Offers Free VPN Servers to Safeguard Internet Freedom During Elections

In a move to protect internet freedom during elections in countries prone to censorship and repression, Switzerland-based internet privacy company Proton announced on Wednesday its plan to provide a network of free VPN servers.

The initiative aims to empower local populations to bypass government-imposed censorship and prevent interference or misinformation campaigns during election periods. Proton believes monitoring demand for its VPN services is an early warning system for government crackdowns on free speech.

Over the past year, Proton has witnessed significant spikes in demand for its VPN services in various countries experiencing political or civil unrest. Demand surged by 4,700 percent in Nepal, 6,000 percent in Pakistan, 25,000 percent in Gabon, and 100,000 percent in Senegal, highlighting the pressing need for access to unrestricted information in such environments.

With approximately half of the global population heading to the polls this year, Proton underscores the importance of providing widespread access to VPN services, which enable users to circumvent internet censorship and access information freely.

Proton has identified several countries, including Venezuela, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Turkey, where it will offer free VPN servers to facilitate secure and unrestricted internet access during election periods.

Proton’s CEO, Andy Yen, emphasized the significance of 2024 as a pivotal year for democracy worldwide, particularly in nations with a history of curbing free speech and fair electoral processes. He reiterated Proton’s commitment to safeguarding free speech and combating censorship to uphold fundamental democratic rights.

Proton will provide free local servers to users in countries holding elections for two weeks before and after the voting period as part of its election support initiative. These servers enable users to access the internet without censorship or interference, leveraging Proton’s smart routing technology to ensure high-speed and unfiltered access.

Proton’s flexible technical approach allows it to establish VPN servers even in countries where physical presence may be restricted. Proton can bypass government censorship by strategically locating servers in nearby jurisdictions while preventing global users from overloading servers.

Proton’s provision of free VPN servers during election periods represents a critical step towards safeguarding internet freedom and promoting democratic participation worldwide.

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