How to unblock and watch HBO Now and Game Of Thrones in Australia

This is a step by step guide to watching HBO Now in Australia (for Windows, Mac OS X and Android).

HBO is the premium cable television service in the United States, with popular shows like Game of Thrones and True Blood.

HBO is no longer just a cable service though having released its streaming service HBO Now to compete with Netflix.

HBO Now is supposed to be only available in the United States and uses geoblocks so Australian’s can’t watch it.  Don’t fear though, there is way to bypass these geoblocks so you can watch HBO Now and Game Of Thrones in Australia.  It is a bit tricky though so below is a step by step guide to watching HBO Now outside the United States.  Once you’ve set it up though it’s easy to watch HBO Now in Australia or anywhere else outside the United States.

Step 1: Get a VPN to hide your location

First, you are going to need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to trick your device that you are located in the United States when you are really in Australia (or anywhere else in the world). VPNs securely tunnel your internet through computer servers located overseas (in this case the United States) which is how the trick works.

I recommend buying a lifetime subscription to a VPN so you don’t have to pay ongoing monthly fees.

The cheapest VPN that I recommend is VPNunlimited which is super cheap and has a very simple and easy to use Windows desktop app.  If you have a Mac, try VPN Unlimited which also has an app for Mac OS X.

Step 2: Install and start your VPN

Follow the VPN instructions to install on your Windows PC or Mac.  Start the VPN and choose a server in the United States.

Step 3: Download and install an Android emulator on your Windows PC or Mac

HBO Now does not let you sign-up on its website and insists you sign-up using an app (Android or iOS) as mobile devices can more easily find your location (using GPS) and the app stores will not offer the HBO Now app to devices outside the United States.

Fortunately, you can install an Android emulator on your Windows PC or Mac.  The emulator lets your computer pretend it’s an Android phone or tablet so you can download the HBO Now app and sign-up to the HBO Now free 14 day trial.

For Windows PCs, download and install the Droid4X emulator at www.droid4x.com. Remember you should still have your VPN running through a server in the United States.

For Mac OS X (and Windows PCs) you can try the Andy Android emulator at www.andyroid.net.

Step 4: Run the Android emulator on your computer

Remember, make sure you have your VPN already running through a server and the United States.

Start your Android emulator.  Droid4X has an option in the bottom of the screen to relocate your GPS location using a map.  Pick somewhere in the United States.  Close Droid4X and restart it.  The Android emulator now thinks you are in the United States (you need both the VPN and GPS simulator pointing to the United States for this to work).

Step 5: Open the Google Play store in your Android emulator

The US version of the Google Play store should open.

Step 6: Search for and install the HBO Now Android app

If you can’t find it then the non-US version of the Google Play store is open.  Follow step 4 again closely.

Step 7: Open the HBO NOw app and sign-up

Follow the steps to sign-up for the HBO Now free trial.  USe Delaware ZIP code 19702 (to avoid sales tax). You will need to enter Google Play payment information to continue for when the trial period ends.  An Australian credit card will work.  An Australian PayPal account will not work.

Step 8: Start watching HBO Now on your Android emulator

or …

Step 9: Watch HBO Now on your computer

Go to https://www.hbonow.com, sign in to your new account and start watching!

Always ensure your VPN is running when trying to watch HBO Now or it won’t work.

Now you can watch Game Of Thrones and other HBO shows in Australia.  Great work!

And no, this is not illegal in Australia.  Just ask our Prime Minister who says it’s all okay.

 

 

How to protect your metadata and privacy from your watching government

If you think these laws won’t adversely affect you then you are mistaken. Terrorists and paedophiles already know how to avoid the government tracking their metadata so the data retention laws will have no effect on their criminal activities. The government knows this. So, if the criminals can already avoid the data retention laws and the government knows this, then who are the laws really targeting? The answer is the laws target ordinary Australians like you.

Data retention bill passes the house

On 19 March 2015, the Australian Federal House of Representatives passed its privacy invading data retention bill which will allow the government to spy on the internet history of all Australians.   The bill passed by the house is called the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015.

The law will work by requiring your internet service provider (e.g. Telstra, Optus, iiNET,  TPG and others) to retain a record of all of the sites you have visited for at least two years.  Your ISP will be forced to hand over your data to a multitude of law enforcement agencies for all sorts of reasons.  Whilst the government is selling this law as the fight against terrorism, it applies to everyone and not just suspected terrorists.

Buy VPN

But I’m not a terrorist so I am safe, right? 

If  you think these laws won’t adversely affect you then you are mistaken.  Terrorists and paedophiles already know how to avoid the government tracking their metadata so the data retention laws will have no effect on their criminal activities. The government knows this. So, if the criminals can already avoid the data retention laws and the government knows this, then who are the laws really targeting? The answer is the laws target ordinary Australians like you.

If your ex-spouse or partner makes a malicious complaint about you to the police then they will be able to access two years worth of your metadata.  If a disgruntled business partner makes a malicious police complaint against you then two years worth of your metadata will become available to the police.  If a foreign movie studio or music industry association accuses you of illegally downloading a video or song, then two years of your metadata might be disclosed.

Where have you visited on the internet over the last two years?

Just think about every site you might visit in a two year period, intentionally or not.  The government will know every financial institution you use. The government will know every anti-government website you have visited.  What about that movie and song you downloaded from a torrent site? The government will have a record of every not-safe-for-work site you may have visited; even those awful sites you may have visited accidentally, all from up to two years ago.  Everything you do on-line will be monitored, recorded and disclosed to the police, other law enforcement agencies and government.

Your metadata will be a honey pot target for criminal hackers

There is also a high risk that your metadata will fall into the hands of criminals.  The law requires your ISP to store the metadata for when the government wants to access it.  ISPs have already warned that the stored metadata of over 20 million Australians will be a honey pot of data that will attract the most sophisticated hackers.  It is inevitable that one day a hacker will succeed and your data will be released to the seedy on-line underworld of criminal hackers and criminal enterprises to be traded and sold for malicious purposes.

You can protect yourself with a VPN 

Fortunately, you can protect yourself.  Yes it does costs money (remember that next time you vote at the federal election).

You can protect yourself by using a Virtual Private Network (or VPN).  Using a VPN is perfectly legitimate.  VPNs work by encrypting your internet data and tunnelling it through a secure server (you can select servers based all around the world) and that secure server then connects you to the site you want to visit or downloads the file you want.

When you use a VPN, your ISP will retain data that you visited a VPN server.  The data sent to the server will be encrypted (i.e. it will be kept secret from the ISP and government) and also the ISP and government will have no idea which sites you visited, or what file your downloaded, because the VPN server is the computer that actually connects you to those sites (not your ISP).  Your identify will also be hidden from movie studios and music industry investigators.

How do I choose and get a VPN? 

You should choose a VPN that:

  • does not keep logs of your internet activity (that way, if they receive court orders or warrants to hand over your data they have nothing stored to give away)
  • has fast servers (given all your internet traffic will be tunnelled through this server, you need it to be fast so as to not slow down your internet, this rules out free VPNs)
  • has servers located in lots of countries (that way you can unlock lots of sites, including Netflix and overseas shopping sites, by tricking them that you are overseas when you are really in Australia)
  • has apps for all your devices (PC, Mac, Android and iOS for iPad and iPhone).

Below are four affordable and recommended VPN service providers that give you all of the above.

Recommended 

1. IPVanish – ipvanish.com
2. Global VPN and smart DNS bundle at Overplay.net (to also unlock Netflix and more on your Smart TV and devices)
3. Private Internet Access -privateinternetaccess.com
4. Cyberghost – cyberghostvpn.com

What are you waiting for?

Protect yourself from your spying government and hackers and also unlock overseas streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more by getting a VPN.

 


Australian Government requires telecomms industry to retain metadata for two years

Fortunately, it is quite simple to protect your privacy from your ISP and therefore from the Australian Government. You will also protect yourself from foreign government who have more malevolent intentions in tracking your internet habits. Don’t forget if you use Facebook, it tracks and stores your visits to any webpage that has a Facebook “like” button which may then be accessed by the United States intelligence agencies.

The Australian Government is committed to providing law enforcement and security agencies with the tools they need by requiring the telecommunications industry to retain a limited set of your personal metadata for two years.  

http://www.ag.gov.au/dataretention

What does this mean for Australian internet users? 

This means multiple Australian Government security agencies can and will track your internet usage for no less than two years. They do this by requiring your internet service provider (ISP) to store the internet sites you visit for a two year period.

This means your ISP (i.e. Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet, iPrimus etc) are obligated by law to track and hand over your internet usage to secretive government agencies.

This means everything you do online is being tracked.  

This means everywhere you go with your internet enabled mobile phone is also being tracked.

How can I protect my privacy from the government and the abuse of my metadata? 

Fortunately, it is quite simple to protect your privacy from your ISP and therefore from the Australian Government.  You will also protect yourself from foreign governments who have more malevolent intentions in tracking your internet habits.

Don’t forget if you use Facebook, it tracks and stores with your profile visits to any webpage that has a Facebook “like” button using cookies (whether or not you actually press like) which may then be accessed by United States government intelligence agencies and contractors.

Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web 

This isn’t a far fetch conspiracy theory; it is now accepted fact where governments have now shifted from denying the allegations to defending their spying activities as necessary.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29

The simplest way to protect yourself is to always use a virtual private network (VPN).  You should at least use a VPN when undertaking any activities that your government (or an unfriendly foreign government) may consider questionable or against its sponsor’s interests.

A VPN works by encrypting your internet data and tunnelling it through a special server. This way your ISP can only track that all your data goes to this server but cannot see what that data is or where you might visit at the other end.  VPN service providers that value your privacy do not keep any logs so have nothing to hand over to government spy agencies should they come knocking.


Where can I get a VPN? 

You can easily sign up for a VPN service online. They do cost money but only a few dollars a month. There are some free VPNs available but they will slow down your broadband internet which is just not worth it (i.e. why pay for fast broadband by slowing it down through a free VPN server). Paid VPN services have high speed servers.

UPDATE: check my other post on choosing a VPN provider by clicking here.

I use privateinternetaccess.com which has has easy apps for Windows, Mac and Android and simple instructions for for iOS and other platforms.  You can sign up for privateinternetaccess.com by clicking here (currently less than US$5 per month).

If you want to try a different VPN provider then check out IPvanish or overplay.net.  Overplay also has a package deal that includes both a smart DNS (for unblocking Netflix and other streaming video services) and VPN (protecting your privacy and downloads).  Just click here to check out overplay.net.

Don’t take your privacy for granted; your government doesn’t!