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Are VPNs Legal? The short answer is yes. In fact, VPNs were originally used to provide a secure network for large businesses and organizations. But VPNs are also used for illegal or nefarious activities, and they give VPNs a bad name. For this reason some countries have even banned them. We’ll take a deeper look at this issue and examine where VPNs are allowed. Share it
Before deciding which VPN provider to choose, the first question that comes to mind is whether VPNs are legitimate or not. It’s a very common question people ask in online forums, and – given the implications of breaking the law – it’s a good idea to fully understand it.
However, the answer to the question varies from country to country. This is because some countries like Russia and China ban VPNs. However, other countries still allow their use.
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Before we get into the legality of VPNs, it is important to note that even though VPNs are legal, doing illegal activities with them is not allowed. If you are doing something illegal through a VPN, you will definitely be prosecuted according to the laws of your country. A VPN can help you hide your identity, but selling drugs, copyrighted material, spreading viruses, etc. is still illegal and can obviously get you into trouble.
Because some people, unfortunately, use VPNs for illegal purposes, many people are under the impression that VPNs are not allowed. However, this is far from the truth. There are many legitimate uses for a VPN that outweigh the cons. Below are some of the most common and popular VPN uses:
In terms of security, when using a VPN, most VPN providers protect their users with a strict no-logs policy. This means that your information is not tracked or your online activity is not tracked. Governments can’t get your information, even if they declare that a VPN provider must report it.
However, most providers must comply with the authorities in the country where they have registered their business. Therefore, if necessary, they can hand over the logs to law enforcement agencies. To combat that, some VPN services operate in countries with no or very few such compliance rules. In this way they can avoid being forced to comply with the regulatory authorities as they are not required to do so.
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As mentioned above, VPN legality varies from country to country. While the US, Canada and the UK allow VPNs, other countries do not. Below, we look at countries where VPN use is partially or completely banned:
This is not an exhaustive list and laws are constantly changing, so it is always a good idea to check with the latest regulations in your country. Our live updates page has all the latest news about online censorship and VPNs.
Most countries allow the use of VPNs, so as long as you’re not doing anything illegal over a VPN you should be fine.
In my personal opinion, I am in favor of net neutrality and believe that the internet should be accessible to all. There should be no restriction or favoritism by the ISP in providing content on the Internet. It helps keep the internet transparent, useful and a fair playing field for everyone.
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Using techniques like VPN blocking, rather than banning it, only points to a larger problem that needs to be addressed from the root, which is only the best solution.
Harsh Maurya is a technology enthusiast who has provided many open source and free tools to the public. In his spare time, he likes to educate about network security and is the author of the book How Not to Get Hacked. In short, yes. VPNs are legal in most countries. However, some governments have placed restrictions on VPN use or banned the practice altogether. In this way, they aim to control the population or maintain national security. Using a VPN for illegal activities like hacking or cyber stalking is also illegal and can land you in trouble. There are many legal uses for VPNs, including anonymous browsing and content streaming in different countries.
Many people wonder if it is legal to use a VPN connection. In most parts of the world, especially in the West, using a VPN is completely legal. Just using a VPN won’t land you in jail in these countries.
But there are some countries whose governments do not approve the use of VPNs. Generally, these countries have dictatorial regimes or authoritarian leaders. Examples are China, Russia and Iran. This article explains which countries have banned VPNs and why. It also lends itself to many legal VPN uses!
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A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates many opportunities and brings many benefits. You can use it to bypass geographic restrictions on the Internet and gain access to information not normally available in your country. A typical example is BBC iPlayer. This service is only intended for British people living in the United Kingdom. However, if you use a VPN server located in the UK, you can also access the website from Italy, Norway or the US.
VPN use is largely prohibited in countries with authoritarian laws, such as China, North Korea, and Turkmenistan. Governments in these countries restrict internet freedom as well as freedom of the press. Hence, social media and critical news websites are blocked for internet users in the country. The figure below shows the countries that use online censorship on a large scale and their main motivations for doing so.
To gain access to these blocked websites and online services anyway, many citizens, tourists, expats, journalists and whistleblowers use a VPN or proxy server. When they use a VPN, they can bypass internet censorship, anonymizing all their data online.
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This has caused irritation among various governments that try to ban VPNs. By banning VPNs, governments hope to achieve several goals:
We have already listed some countries where VPN usage is not allowed. For clarity, we’ve listed all the countries known to block VPNs below. It’s not always entirely clear whether VPN connections are actually banned and what punishment to expect when using one. Regardless, using a VPN in any of these is extremely dangerous.
Fortunately, in most countries, VPNs are legal. Although their use is prohibited in the countries mentioned above, VPNs are considered an effective tool for ensuring privacy and security online. After all, there are many good reasons to use a VPN. And many governments have recognized the merits of using a VPN. Some of them are:
To find out why you might want to use a VPN, we’d like to refer you to our full article on VPNs and their uses.
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After reading about all these benefits, you might wonder why VPNs have such a bad reputation despite having so many legitimate and useful applications. The simple answer is that these VPN applications are also used to conduct and hide criminal activities.
On crime shows, you may hear criminals hiding behind VPNs to hide their activities. Your favorite fictional FBI team might not be able to find the killer because they bought their weapons with a VPN. Stories like
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