Its been 3 days and Ugandans are still in a social media black out as the government is promising to turn it back on when the post election situation normalizes, but no one seems to put an actual date when this will happen. Apart from the early VPN adopters, majority of Ugandans are now using VPNs to open social networks Facebook and Twitter, chat services – WhatsApp and other online services after access to social networks was shut down on election day on 18 February across the nation “for security reasons”, according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). As of the 19th February, the Internet World Statistics (IWS) indicated that over 1.5 million Ugandans had installed VPN applications out of the 12 million internet users as shown below. This means over 15% of the internet users in Uganda are currently using VPN apps in order to get access to their social media accounts.
Image Credit: TMS RUGE
In a blog post, Trust.Zone VPN recorded over 520,000+ times downloads from Uganda (both – mobile and desktop) and still grows. Trust.Zone reports that their official website is heavily overloaded by Internet users from Uganda and by yesterday at some point it was not reachable for 30 minutes. Fortunately, their network administrators resolved the networking issues and restored the access to the website.
Is this easy to block VPN in Uganda?
Currently no, and we’ve written a blog post about this. It should be noted that, China authorities have succesfully blocked a lot of VPN services in China. So, it’s not a big issue. Usually, VPN services are using OpenVPN connections, PPTP and L2TP protocols which could be blocked by the Ugandan authorities. So those looking fo reliable VPN solutions should go in for more secure than OpenVPN.
We are yet to get more the figures from other popular VPN services that Ugandans are using.