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Uni project gives access to free anonymous VPNs

A Japanese university experiment has opened up dozens of free VPN services around the world.

Japan's University of Tsukuba has kicked off a rather unusual project. Called the VPN Gate Academic Experiment Project, the uni aims to "expand the knowledge of Global Distributed Public VPN Relay Servers".

A map of the network of VPNs. (Credit: VPN Gate Academic Experiment Project)

What this means is that volunteers around the world have given the project free and open access to a number of anonymous Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

There's no sign-up required, and the VPN access will work for Windows, Linux, iOS and Android devices. Once connected, you're able to change or otherwise camouflage your IP address.

VPN use has garnered some controversy due to its use by some to navigate around the geo-blocking of content. People connected to a VPN can access otherwise geo-blocked content simply by masking their IP so it looks to be coming from a different country. People in China, for example, could access YouTube (blocked by the Great Firewall) by appearing to be in the US. An English ex-pat in Australia could do the same to watch BBC iPlayer.

A list of servers, supported VPN protocols and an overview of what the project hopes to accomplish can all be found on the VPN Gate page. They've also called for additional volunteers to offer their own computer as a VPN server if they'd like to help the project out.