Despite being an up-and-coming financial and economic powerhouse, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is notorious for blocking internet sites and services here and there, making it, at least on paper, one of the most challenging places to browse the web in all Asia.
To circumvent internet censorship in the country and have access to some critical Wikipedia pages, other news websites, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling cards and messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype, people in the country is relatively familiar with the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
The magic of VPN
VPNs are online resources that allow its users to hide their data and traffic inside virtual tunnels, using security protocols like the AES 256-bit, OpenVPN, Layer to Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), among several others. With it, you could enjoy online streaming services with ease, including watching British TV in the UAE.
The previously mentioned tools hide the user’s IP address and lend him a new one for temporary use, which the user will implement at his, or her, convenience. VPNs are excellent privacy and security measures because if you are anonymous on the web, your protection against hackers trying to steal your credit card numbers and passwords is greatly enhanced.
Also, VPNs can help you hide from the Government and your Internet Service Provider, two very desirable features in a country with internet censorship like the United Arab Emirates and Dubai, where the use of individual websites and VPNs is prohibited.
Internet and VPN censorship in the UAE
The United Arab Emirates’ cybercrimes law was amended to include the use of VPN in the country, although the technology is not named. It says that if a person was to use a “fraudulent computer network protocol access (IP address)” by implementing a “false or third party address” with the intention of committing crimes, could be sentenced to jail. The fines, in addition, range from the Dhs 500,000 (USD 136,128.51) to the Dhs 2,000,000 (USD 544,514.04).
However, there seems to be a vast gray area in the nation between the written law and its enforcement. One of the main reasons for which the government doesn’t harass VPN users like other countries with substantial internet censorship, like China or Egypt, is because Dubai and the UAE have lots of tourist with long vacations, workers from abroad, and plenty of people from other countries located there for life. UAE wants to keep these people in good graces by not actively pursuing them if they chose to use a VPN.
VPN uses in UAE
The thing is, the vast majority of people in the UAE don’t have evil intentions with the use of VPNs and the internet. The country has a list of ethically dubious activity that it wants their people to avoid performing on the web. Pornography, gambling, visiting sites with anti-religious hate demonstrations, VoIP and messaging services, pages related to produce, sell and distribute illegal drugs, Israeli websites, some Wikipedia pages, and content against to beliefs of the majority Shia population is not allowed.
Whereas China or Egypt implement censorship on their internet with the purpose of “protecting national interests” and avoiding their citizens to access critical news hubs that could compromise political authorities, much of the law work regarding the subject in the UAE is business related.
The country’s telecommunications companies want to block some content, such as Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services and messaging apps, to protect business interests: they don’t want people to access and use free services.
An essential portion of the VPN use in the United Arab Emirates is intended for business. Numerous workers around the world have commercial and financial relationships with international interests, so they need instant communications via Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Gmail or Skype, and other need to access foreign websites for research and different ends.
UAE residents also use Virtual Private Networks for leisure, presented in the form of accessibility. With these resources, you could gain entry to sites and online streaming services from all over the world, including Netflix (the UAE version has approximately 30% of the content present in the American catalog), and pages and apps to watch British TV in the UAE, such as the BBC iPlayer.
The vast majority of British sites and online channels are not for international use, which means that only people currently residing or visiting the United Kingdom can watch them. However, with your preferred VPN, you can connect to a British server from the UAE, and this way, the system that you want to enter will think you are physically in the UK, thus granting you full access.
Online British TV
Being one of the most culturally gifted countries in the world, the United Kingdom is full of things to show on the little and the big screen, and there are many platforms in which you can enjoy these productions, especially in the web.
If you are a British expat living in the United Arab Emirates, then you will surely miss the best shows, movies, documentaries, and live sports events in England, including the Premier League. To inform yourself about the latest happenings in the UK and the world, you have online streaming options such as Al Jazeera News, BBC News Live, BBC Parliament, Sky News Live, RT News Live and more. For entertainment you have the UK Netflix region and Film4 TV Live, in addition to ITV (and all of its subsidiaries, like ITV Live, ITV +1 Live, ITV 2, 3 and 4 Live), BBC One, Two and Four, Channel 4 Live, Channel 5 Live, Yesterday TV, Really TV, Quest TV, Pick TV Live, More 4 TV, 5 Star TV, CBS Reality and CBS Drama. There are also plenty options for the kids, like Pop TV Live, Tiny Pop TV Live, CBeebies TV Live and CBBC TV Live.
How to watch British TV in the UAE
Since VPN and the use of some websites and services are limited in the UAE, you will have to be discrete if you want to watch British TV in the nation. However, it is possible and very straightforward. You just need to follow these steps:
- Carefully select a VPN client whose website is allowed in the United Arab Emirates. If you have a favorite choice but the page is blocked in the UAE, you should do the whole process outside the country.
- Open the website of the VPN client you chose.
- Sign up for the service, entering your data and your credit card information, if the service you are going to use is a paid one (highly recommended.)
- Download the software or VPN app from the official site or the app store of your device.
- Install the VPN on your device or personal computer.
- Run the service and log in with the personal information you entered in the sign-up process.
- Establish a connection to a UK server.
- Enter the UK’s site or service you want to watch and open live streaming.
- Done! You will now be able to watch British TV in the UAE.
Best VPN to watch British TV in the UAE
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|Stealth VPN / Advanced Obfuscation techniques|
|Visit VPN Provider||Visit TorGuard||Visit IPvanish||Visit PIA|
TorGuard is one of the most secure options for VPN use in today’s market. Also, it has servers in the Middle East, which makes connection smoother and faster. For as little as $5 per month, you can connect five devices at the same time to make the browsing experience anonymous, with no keeping of logs, socks5 proxies fully compatible with torrents, OpenPGP encrypted webmail services, and 24/7 support services.
IPVanish has strong encryption measures and a strict no logging policy, which happen to be the most coveted features of a VPN client in the UAE, for obvious reasons. You don’t want the government or your Internet Service Provider to track you. Also, IPVanish offers other desirable traits such as numerous servers (600+) and countries (50+), Socket Secure (SOCKS5) proxy, a Killswitch and DNS leak protection, and, especially, fast speeds.
Private Internet Access (PIA)
One of the best value/price offerings in the market, Private Internet Access VPN can keep your traffic secure and away from the government. Also, it gives you the option to watch British TV in the UAE with its good streaming speeds, ad blocking feature, and an impressive number of servers available.
Present in 51 countries around the world, GhostVPN is one of the most affordable options in the VPN universe, with plans starting from $4 per month. You can choose among many security protocols, and they keep no logs of your activity.
In conclusion, the restrictions for internet and VPN use are tight, but the enforcement of these laws can allow the majority of citizens to enjoy the use of a Virtual Private Network for many purposes, including watching British TV in the UAE.