Atlas VPN is giving away a three-month subscription to its premium service, in a bid to combat misinformation about coronavirus (opens in new tab). The offer is available to all users, not just those that reside in countries with internet restrictions.
According to research conducted by the firm, internet censorship is leaving the citizens of some countries uninformed or misinformed about the extent of the outbreak, now classified a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (opens in new tab).
The ‘Great Firewall of China’ restricts access to some of the world’s most popular information outlets, such as Google and YouTube. Other countries with internet censorship policies include India, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
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Atlas hopes the measure will allow citizens without access to the latest information to bypass online restrictions.
Atlas claims the Chinese government understated the coronavirus infection rate in Shandong province by up to 52 times, and believes this could have been the case in other regions as well.
Without up-to-date and accurate information, the VPN (opens in new tab) firm believes citizens living under censorship laws are unable to take appropriate steps to protect themselves, and that fatality rates could correspond to the level of preparedness.
Rachel Welch, Atlas VPN COO, expressed concerns censorship could have serious consequences for residents of areas hit hardest by COVID-19.
“I believe that every single person should have access to the latest information about the pandemic. Sadly, in countries where popular media websites are banned, people are left in the dark. We will do everything we can to inform people about the current situation,” she said.
The company also believes the spike in remote working as a result of the outbreak could pose a threat to security, which could be mitigated using a VPN.
“When working from home, employees often use instant messaging to communicate with co-workers. Hackers might try to use this opportunity to intercept sensitive company information,” it said in a blog post.
To claim the free three-month subscription, click here (opens in new tab).
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