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Ugandans in rush for VPNs to bypass social media tax despite threat to block service

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Ugandans in rush for VPNs to bypass social media tax despite threat to block service

Social media fanatics will pay a high price for their habits

Many social media users have vowed to bypass the controls

Millions of internet users in Uganda have installed or are considering installing a certain version of a Vitual Private Network – a software tool that can allow them to bypass the newly introduced social media tax by the government of Uganda.

The coming into force of the social media tax on July 1, 2018 triggered angry reactions from the users of the socio media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram WhatsApp with many vowing to bypass the restrictions while others chose to protest or go to court.

VPNs allow the internet user to connect to the internet anonymously using servers from other countries in a way that internet service providers or governments may not be able easily detect.

In an attempt to counter the public’s growing resistance to the tax, the government yesterday directed telecom companies to block VPNs

Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi said that the OTT tax is being introduced as a way to make up for lost revenue in the voice category as people have abandoned making direct network calls in favour of internet based calls otherwise called Over The Top (OTT).

Despite the directive, many experts argue that telecom companies will find it very difficult to implement the order, because VPN creators have been devising ways to hide their tracks and evade new controls.

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