Is It Legal to Use a VPN?

by Nicole Evans January 6, 2020

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The popularity of VPN is fast spreading with increasing awareness of the threats that internet users are exposed to while they are online. Internet users depend on a VPN service to help them keep their data private and secure from unauthorized access by malicious individuals on the web. However, just like most services, VPN solutions are prone to abuse by users. While some internet users depend on VPN to secure their data and keep it safe from intrusion, others exploit the online anonymity that VPN grants them to perform illegal tasks on the internet.

The legality of VPN use, therefore, depends largely on your intention for seeking anonymity online. If you seek the online anonymity granted by VPN only to secure your data and keep it private, then your actions are legal and there is no cause for worry. However, if you intend to use the anonymity granted to you by VPN solutions to conduct illegal activities on the internet, then you will be violating the law.

Additionally, some countries have censored certain sites and made it illegal to access such sites within their borders. In such countries, using VPN to access censored sites is illegal.

Why Trust in Your VPN Provider Is Important

The aim of using VPN is to stay anonymous while you are online. However, not all VPN providers guarantee you this privilege. While they may secure you from intrusion by third parties, some VPN providers usually snoop on your online activity to a level that goes against the purpose of subscribing to their services. Untrustworthy providers engage in the following activities:

  1. They log your connection times and dates;
  2. They log your IP address;
  3. They track the type of traffic that you send through their network.

In defense, some of these providers will tell you that they do this to make sure that you don’t engage in any illegal activity or activity poses a threat to their system. This defense is however not sensible since when you subscribe for their services; your aim is to attain privacy and security. Keeping their own data about your online activities implies some weak links in the chain.

The best VPN service providers keep the fewest logs possible and are in the least interested in whatever you do while you are connected through their network. With the knowledge that not all VPN providers are trustworthy, you should take the trouble of verifying your provider’s trustworthiness before you subscribe to their services. You can find useful information by checking VPN reviews.

How Does a VPN Work?

With the question of why use VPN answered, you must be struggling to figure out how to set up a VPN and how to use a VPN. To answer these questions, you need to know how a VPN works. To use VPN, you will need to have VPN software installed on your device. Most VPN software comes with tutorials on how to use VPN on windows.

When you access the internet through this software, it encrypts your data before it is seen by anyone including your internet service provider. The encrypted data you send then goes to the VPN server from where it proceeds to your specified online destination. At the online destination, your data appears to be originating from the VPN server and its location. Your location is therefore hidden from the destination. Feedback from the online destination is therefore sent back to the VPN server which then forwards it back to you.

This way, no one can link your computer or location with your online activity. The VPN software also encrypts your data such that anyone who looks at what you are sending or receiving will only see encrypted information as opposed to raw data.

Countries That Ban VPN

Whereas VPN is increasingly becoming popular globally, some countries have gone greater heights to bar their citizens from using VPN. Below are some of the five countries in which the use of VPN is banned.

China

In China, citizens are only allowed to use government-approved VPN services. Since their implementation, these restrictions have reportedly reduced the speed of some of the formerly fastest free VPN services. 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE recently passed laws that illegalize the use of VPN. Authorities, however, posit that the laws only target the misuse of VPN.

Turkey

It is common for internet users to find a favorite site blocked especially during political instability. Realizing that citizens still circumvented the blocks, the government has illegalized the use of VPN.

Iran

More than half of the world’s popular websites are blocked in Iran and to ensure that people do not use VPN to access them, VPN use has been illegalized.

North Korea

Internet use in this country is stratified with full internet access for a few and a few approved sites for many. The use of VPN is also illegal.

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