Living in Europe has given us ample opportunity to repeatedly break the law. Most of it unintentional, as in virtually every moment we are operating a motor vehicle, but on occasion we have been known to intentionally skirt international dictates.
Most recently it has involved Game of Thrones, the addictive HBO series involving a very complicated and intertwining plot, randomly interrupted by gratuitous scenes of violence and sex. We had yet to the see the most current season, so when we discovered it was available for rent online we happily clicked on 'download' and went to make popcorn.
Except once it determined my computer was in Italy, it cut me off. Not available in my country, it said. Too bad you're traveling abroad, it mocked. Hope you get back to California before you accidentally read all the spoiler posts on Facebook, it sneered.
I had gotten that same message numerous times before, from other entertainment venues and some business applications, but Game of Thrones was the last straw. So I signed up with a company called Hide My Ass. Sporting a clever if not entirely subtle name, it reroutes my electronic devices through any number of portals, of particular interest a U.S. one. And in doing so my true origin disappears from view. So while hanging out in Italy, the Internet thinks my computer is in New York, and wants to download the Game of Thrones. Season Five, complete.
All that is a tad shady, I know. And HMA sells its services under the auspices of people wanting an anonymous online experience, which it provides and is another bonus of using it--those cookies that normally get placed in the bowels of your computer's memory have nowhere to go. You'd think the cookies would show up in New York and go, "Hey, there's no computer here" and then report back to their sender, but fortunately that connection is never made.