How to bypass Australia's new metadata laws


The use of a VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is not just a great way to access overseas versions of Netflix – it's also a method of ensuring that all data packets sent out and received by your computers and smart devices are routed through an encrypted tunnel. Even if someone were to access one of these packets, they wouldn't able to read the scrambled data inside.

VPNs let you connect to servers in different parts of the world, making it seem like your computer's physical location is in a different country entirely – VPNs also replace your IP address with one from your virtual location, making it almost impossible to track back to you.

There are plenty of VPN services to choose from online, some specifically tailored to Australian users. Most will set you back around $10 to $15 a month.

Ensure that your chosen VPN service provides strong encryption and does not store any user metadata at all, as those that do may eventually bow to legal pressure and give your data up to the authorities – the VPN service HideMyAss did just that, leading the arrest of LulzSec hacker Cody Kretsinger in 2012.

Sure, he got what was coming to him, but this example does highlight how a VPN is not truly private unless it's one that doesn't store your metadata.

If this all sounds too complicated, don't fret – we've got an in-depth guide on how to setup and maintain a VPN.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.