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The Big VPN Survey results – Part 1: who are you?

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

December 18, 2013

Well, the results are in from our ‘Big VPN Survey’, and we think there is some very interesting information revealed by them. In the first part of our results analysis we’ll look at who you, our readers, are, and see what conclusions we can draw from this.

First off, however, we would like to thank the 178 respondents to our survey for taking the time to help us understand who our readership is, how you use VPN, and what you want out of this privacy enhancing technology.

survey 1

Wow! In this day and age we had hoped that more women might be interested in maintaining their privacy online. We know that VPN is a somewhat dry and tech-heavy subject of the sort that stereotypically does not appeal to women, but we don’t believe in stereotypes! Given its importance in this post-Edward Snowden and copyright-ridden world, the VPN industry is clearly failing to do enough to engage female internet users, something it should strive to change.

 survey 2

This result is somewhat less surprising, with 80 percent of you less than 55 years old. That 5 of our respondents were aged over 75 shows that in terms of age, VPN has a wide demographic.

 survey 3

Most of you access the internet primarily from your homes, which given (as we shall see in the next result) that most of you live in ‘the West’ where almost everyone can afford a home internet connection, is not too surprising.  Perhaps more surprising, with the current proliferation in smart phones and tablets, is how few of you seem to access the internet when out and about, although we suppose that even on such mobile devices most actual web surfing is performed slouched on a comfy sofa using the house WiFi connection.

 survey 4

Most of our readers (over 80 percent) live in ‘the West’ – Europe or North America (and the Australia and New Zealand answers we received in the ‘Other field can be added to this number). Judging from answers received elsewhere in this survey, many readers living in East Asia use VPN to evade the Great Firewall of China, while many of our Middle Eastern readers live in Iran and use VPN for a similar reason.

Perhaps the most interesting answer here was, ‘Norway, the north korea of the internet’. When we looked at Norway’s data retention and copyright laws we could certainly see why residents’ would want to use VPN!

Conclusion

So the chances are that you’re a young Western guy who accesses the internet from his home internet connection. While hardly frivolous, this means that most our reader’s main VPN concerns likely center around copyright enforcement, NSA spying, and watching TV from outside its country of origin, rather than to evade serious levels of censorship or to protect  against persecution for holding dissenting political views and suchlike. We look more at the details of this in Part 2 of this survey analysis – How do you use VPN?

The Big VPN Survey results – Part 2: How do you use VPN?
The Big VPN Survey results – Part 3: What do you want?

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