Are VPNs legal and safe to use? (Depends) With the exponential growth of Internet users, the risk of running into a phishing website or in unsafe domains also increases. The consequences of surfing the Internet unsafe are so serious that you could even fall victim to identity theft simply by revealing your name, email ID, age and phone number!
So any website that requires such details should be a reliable website, but how do you understand?
The virtual world is full of traps and pitfalls, and there is no absolute certainty to know what is safe and what is not. You could download a harmless viral video or the last season of some famous shows and open the gates of vulnerability. In this reality, VPNs are perhaps the safest way to make anonymous data transfers over the Internet. But are VPNs legal? And more importantly, are VPNs secure? Let’s find out.
Are VPNs legal and safe to use? – What is a VPN?
Before asking the question “are VPNs secure?” Let’s try to better understand what a VPN really is. To simplify, VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is software that is used to remain anonymous on the Internet and is particularly useful for protecting you from your Internet service provider or even the government. These tunneling software connect your network through a series of servers around the world, so the hosting site has no knowledge of your current and exact location. Your IP address is a unique ID for your virtual presence and a VPN will falsify your IP so that you can fundamentally assume a new and unknown identity.
Some websites impose geographic blocks in which the web content can be accessible only to those who are present on a specific continent, country or location. A VPN can bypass this limitation by allowing access from any geographic location. For example, if some content is only available to Internet users residing in the United States and is blocked for viewing in Italy, you can effectively use a VPN to trick the website into believing that you are using a connection Internet in the United States.
Are VPNs legal and safe to use?
So, as we mentioned earlier, VPNs can be used to avoid being tracked by the government, of course, it would trigger the question: are VPNs legal? The answer to this question is rather specific for each country, but a more general answer is Yes. VPNs are not illegal. However, this is not true all over the world because VPNs are declared illegal in some countries (we’ll talk about them later). Although VPNs can be legal in most countries, it is obvious that carrying out illegal activities through VPNs such as the spread of viruses, the sale of drugs and/or copyright material could still make you responsible for any legal actions.
MUST READ: How to Connect to a VPN in Windows 10
Countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada allow the use of VPNs. However, VPN service providers must comply with the guidelines established by the government authorities of that particular country in which their organization is registered. Most countries accept the legitimate use of VPN because it has some distinct advantages such as:
VPNs offer security
This security is not only limited to any random Internet user but is also extended to large corporations and government organizations. VPNs are used as a defense to protect sensitive data and intellectual property. Even banking environments use VPNs to provide access to an employee to their workstation when they work from home.
VPNs offer anonymity
In present times, anonymity and privacy are the concerns of every individual. Whether they feel they are being monitored by the government or simply want to escape the clutches of targeted ads, more and more people are using VPNs to securely protect their connections. With VPNs, even your VoIP calls cannot be monitored or monitored.
These professionals overcome the main disadvantages of using a VPN, making it legal in most countries.
Are VPNs legal and safe to use? – Countries where VPNs are illegal
As mentioned above, most countries allow the use of VPNs, but some have established strict laws against them. So here are the countries that have banned or are setting up VPN services.
It is known that the Russian government operates a solid surveillance system. So, needless to say, any technology that offers anonymity, such as VPN, proxy, Tor, etc., has been banned and considered illegal by the government. This action also ensures that citizens do not have access to web content that the government does not want to allow.
Using a VPN is illegal in China. The Chinese government keeps track of all online activities and monitors, censors and regulates the web content that citizens can access. Although, in theory, the country has registered VPN service providers, in practice they must comply with a rigid and rigid set of guidelines imposed by the government. This effectively nullifies the whole purpose of using VPNs in the first place. Moreover, some regions of China block the use of the VPN regardless of the provider.
Following the actions taken by leaders of countries banned by the VPN, Russia, and China, Belarus has also banned VPN and Tor services that offered a certain amount of anonymity. Belarusian Internet service providers must cross-check with the daily list of services that are prohibited. This list is published by the government agency.
Iraq has been the nerve center of terrorist activities since the rise of ISIS. Therefore, to track every activity on the Internet and monitor every Internet user, the VPN has been completely banned. While this action may seem necessary to ban terrorists, the citizens of the country must compromise on their security and privacy. Interestingly, the government and government organizations have no qualms about using a VPN.
Oman was active in the censorship and therefore it is not surprising that in addition to traditional media, Internet access is also regulated. Therefore, to maintain the fortress, the VPN is banned in Oman.
Turkey has tried to ban all social media platforms and any means of accessing them. Therefore, the Turkish government has blocked several other websites that include VPN providers.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE imposes a heavy fine on those who use a VPN. The amount can go up to $ 575,800. This is because the government wants to support the telecommunications industries. These industries suffer great losses due to VoIP services that reduce their profit margins.
Saudi Arabia is witness to a special scenario in which the use of VPNs is legal, but government authorities have blocked almost 4,000,000 websites. As practically the United Arab Emirates, the country has also blocked VoIP services to strengthen its telecommunications sector. Later, the Saudis began using VPNs to access these services. Fortunately, with the ban on lifting VoIP, using the VPN may not be necessary after all.
Countries like North Korea, Iran and Turkmenistan restrict the use of VPNs under their general Internet censorship and restrict Internet access, but they also have some approved VPN service providers that can offer this service. Furthermore, this list of countries is not exhaustive because the laws governing a country are rather dynamic and can change constantly. Therefore, users are advised to verify their local legislation.
Are VPNs legal and safe to use? – Are VPNs safe to use?
VPNs are certainly more secure than using proxies because it involves encrypting data that can safeguard your information. On the face of it, the idea of using a VPN for strengthened security, anonymity and privacy may seem like an ideal situation, but it has a good deal of traps.
When it comes to accessing free VPNs, it is important to understand that nothing is ever completely “free”. VPN providers that offer services for free can actually allow malicious third parties to collect your personal information. They can also give access to your Internet connection, using rogue entities that can carry out illegal activities.
Some VPN service providers who sell their goods for free could track and store records of their IP address and Internet usage history. These personal documents with all your information could be sold on the dark side of the internet. Compared to this, paid VPNs may seem like a more attractive option to use these services.