ICYMI on Wednesday, Australia has now ceased to be Australia, and has become something resembling 1984”s Airstrip One / V for Vendetta‘s Norsefire State instead.

Or in other words: the controversial data retention laws have now come into affect, meaning that every call, text, and email you now make will be tracked, stored, and retained by the government for up to two years, and every freaky deaky porn search / any online activity not encrypted is at risk of getting leaked.

Google Search Spike Show Aussies Thirsty For VPNs Post-Data Retention Laws

According to the federal government, these laws are essential for “nearly every counter-terrorism, counter-espionage and organised and major crime investigation“, but according to everyone else, it’s a major invasion of privacy, you Orwellian twats.

In response to this – and thanks in part to a deep-seated need to keep your private internet browsing PRIVATE – demand for and interest in VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) is skyrocketing.

Thanks to Google Trends, we know that Australian searches for ‘VPN’ have been increasing since January this year, with a monumental spike about March, when the data retention laws passed with bipartisan support.

Google Search Spike Show Aussies Thirsty For VPNs Post-Data Retention Laws

And when we looked at specific VPN-related keywords over the last two years – well, those bad boys have increased by percentages ranging from ‘huge’ to ‘so big even yo mama can’t handle it’.

Hat tip to Redditor chessc for uncovering this one.

If you’re still getting to grips with the data retention laws + how to protect yourself online (welcome to the club), Gizmodo have whacked together a easy-to-understand guide to exactly that. Get your internet privacy / suss internet searching on.