Lachlan Moore, Tatsuya Mori (Waseda University, NICT)

This study delves into the utilization patterns, perceptions, and misconceptions surrounding Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) among users in Canada and Japan. We administered a comprehensive survey to 234 VPN users in these two countries, aiming to elucidate the motivations behind VPN usage, users’ comprehension of VPN functionality, and prevalent misconceptions. A distinctive feature of our research lies in its cross-cultural comparison, a departure from previous studies predominantly centered on users within a Western context. Our findings underscore noteworthy distinctions among participant groups. Specifically, Japanese users predominantly employ VPNs for security purposes, whereas Canadian users leverage VPNs for a more diverse array of services, encompassing privacy and access to region-specific content. Furthermore, disparities in VPN understanding emerged, with Canadians demonstrating a superior grasp of VPN applications despite limited technical knowledge, while Japanese participants exhibited a more profound understanding of VPNs, particularly in relation to encrypting transmitted traffic. Notably, both groups exhibited a constrained awareness regarding the data logging practices associated with VPNs. This research significantly contributes to the broader comprehension of VPN usage and sheds light on the cultural intricacies that shape VPN adoption and perceptions, offering valuable insights into the diverse motivations and behaviors of users in Canada and Japan.

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