When it comes to internet freedom, the USA is a controversial political entity. On the one hand, it is hard to deny that the United States has cultural influence across the world. It should not come as a surprise then that people are interested in the various aspects of this culture and its products, followed by a high demand for U.S. online content as well. However, the country is selective in terms of what it actually allows outside its borders. Streaming services are outspoken victims of the USA’s policy, for example. It should be noted though that if you decide to connect a U.S. IP address, the problems of accessing content will be gone. Instead, surveillance is something you should pay attention to.
Best VPN Services for The USA of 2020
|Editor's Choice 2020|
Using an American IP
The United States restricts its content to the outside world heavily; most notably the country’s entertainment sector is rarely allowed elsewhere. Using an American IP address is essential to viewing content only accessible in the USA. More popular streaming services like Netflix are available elsewhere, but with limited selection. Hulu is restricted to the U.S. and its overseas territories, though you could still stream Hulu in Puerto Rico, for example. Most television content is also geoblocked; from sports channels to music for example MTV’s American branch) and film (HBO is a prominent example), they are cut off from the outside world. It is definitely worth then, going for a VPN service whether you are an expat, or a friendly visitor.
The NSA in the USA
The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization. Infamous for conducting global surveillance and industrial espionage, we would like to point out that if you connect to a US IP address, your presence is subject to monitoring unless your traffic is encrypted (with the help of a VPN service, for example). The NSA is also tasked with bypassing encryptions, and thus we would not recommend accessing U.S. websites with a PPTP encryption – it is unsafe, as it can be more easily bypassed than more secure encryptions like OpenVPN. If for nothing else, for the sole reason of hiding your presence from U.S. surveillance, we advise you to enlist the help of a VPN service.
American Online Privacy Laws
Regardless of you being a citizen or an outside visitor to the internet of the USA via a VPN service, the most important laws that affect you and the general content you can access are Federal Laws. These sanctions are valid throughout the U.S. as opposed to state law for example that can only take effect on a state to state basis.
We recommend using an American IP address when you are of legal age or older (eighteen years). A good number of sanctions like the Children’s Internet Protection Act (2000) heavily regulate what minors can and cannot see when visiting U.S. domains. Content categorized as obscene, harmful to minors and child pornography are subjects to these restrictions. The description is quite vague, as essentially anything that is not deemed appropriate can be filtered.
For State Law, about half of the states have laws that limit access to information at libraries. Overall, it is important to emphasize that the legal system in the USA intends to establish a framework that moralizes online content. Since restrictions are also present in the public domain, you might occasionally get less or distorted information if you are interested in learning about the country. If you are looking for entertainment, we suggest using a VPN service to unblock content that is usually restricted outside U.S. borders and to take the general information that you see with a pinch of salt.
Internet Censorship in the USA
So the legal circumstances of the USA are fluid and are subject to change. However, the core of the framework still only permits a minimal amount of actual censorship. Still, the USA is considered an enemy of the free internet. The reason for this is that the government circumvents its own legal system by simply removing content instead of blocking it. Music streaming service Napster, the website WikiLeaks, and file sharing domains The Pirate Bay and MegaUpload are the most prominent victims of this behavior. Gambling websites are also a debated topic. Corporations however (which are different from ISPs), are free to choose what content they make available. As with ISP regulations, more commonly filtered topics such as child pornography, hate speech and defamation are not allowed for corporations either. There is also control practiced over public institutions. This can include library and even university databases restrained by content control software and again, the simple removal of content. The only category of online content that tends to be censored over removal is child pornography.
Overall, the freedom of the internet in the USA is threatened via multiple methods. The outright seizing and removal of content and blacklisting others are common procedures. Widespread surveillance also enables a controlled creation of online content. These actions point to an intention to oversee and regulate the internet’s information altogether – we do not argue with RWB about listing the country among the enemies of the internet.
Streaming Services in the USA
A good number of streaming services that are on demand are seated in the USA. However, the majority of them is either restricted to within the country’s borders or are only available in select countries, with limited selection. A great example of the latter is Netflix. While U.S. citizens have full access to the service, the company invests in select countries only, expanding into Europe mainly. European customers however are presented with a worse selection of shows (Norway is an exception in this matter).
Some of the services that are restricted to US – and occasionally a few other citizens are the following: Batanga Radio (also in Latin America), iHeart Radio (U.S. only), Pandora (also in Australia and New Zealand), Radical.fm (U.S. only), Slacker (also in Canada), Rhapsody (U.S. only) and Amazon Prime Music (also in the UK). Hulu is also restricted to the U.S. As for more widespread streaming, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music and SoundCloud are all available in the United States. Therefore, if you are interested in accessing this sort of content, we recommend utilizing a VPN service that helps you in providing a safe access from outside the country’s borders
Free American VPN Trials
Finally, we would like to recommend you three VPN services that fit the best for connecting to the USA. First, IPVanish is one of the most renowned services on the market. Their particularly wide range of device support, exceptionally high speeds and great prices ensure a positive VPN experience. And also, it’s a US-based company – expect great treatment when connecting to the country. Secondly, HideMyAss is another all-inclusive choice. Offering a 30-day no-risk and they are one of the most generous businesses in VPN. Equally as secure as IPVanish, HideMyAss also provides access to over 180 countries, an unprecedented number. And lastly, if you are interested in additional safety options, take a look at VyprVPN. The Swiss location is advantageous by default, as very few legal restrictions exist for VPN providers there. You also get a chance to unblock US content is great safety with VyprVPN, as their service comes with a built-in NAT Firewall. And if you still long after bypassing restrictions, the company’s own VyprDNS service is a favorable choice among the SmartDNS competitors, helping you in staying safe and also granting quite the extended peek into the U.S. web.