So-called VPN (virtual private network) services have become nearly essential in this days of digital globalizations. Loads of apps can now get around regional blocks to let you access sites that are restricted in certain countries – though not all the tools are equally accessible. Lantern – Better than a VPN is a free Android app to jump regional blocks on any website just by tapping a button.

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Before digging into the chops of this project, we should mention that it’s developed by Brave New Software, headed up by Adam Fisk, an expert in P2P networks and the brain behind the file transfer client LimeWire. In fact, this is the same technology Lantern uses to redirect and transport data from your connection over a VPN. It takes “borrowed” nodes and access points from people in other countries who are also connected to the app to redirect traffic and make the webpage in question believe you’re connected from a different country. You don’t have to do anything, the whole process is done automatically. Just hit the switch and done.

Such is the app’s simplicity that it’s been garnished with news feeds from international media outlets so it’s not just an on/off switch, although from the settings menu you can deactivate this “decor” if it doesn’t appeal to you. And if you install the desktop version (from the app you can request an email link to the installer), you can also keep Lantern from collecting anonymous data on your browsing. In any case it’s worth mentioning that this app lets you get around regional restrictions, but does not make your connection anonymous. For that better to use things like TOR.

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