Are VPNs Legal to Use?
By Nick Anderson 6 minutes
A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a service that protects a user’s online privacy from government surveillance and gives unrestricted access to the web. Moreover, using a VPN like FastestVPN, also enables users to access various geo-restricted sites like Netflix. But, Are VPNs Legal to Use? Here is everything that you should know about the legality of a VPN.
The lawfulness of a VPN varies from country to country, it means that each country has its set of policies related to VPN usage. Countries that run on authority, they strictly ban VPNs while many democratic countries allow it.
Why Are VPNs Not Allowed In Some Countries?
In most countries of the world, VPNs are accepted and completely legal to use. However, there are a few countries that discourage VPN usage because their governments simply don’t want citizens to access censored content.
Also, governments that claim VPNs illegal, closely monitor the online activities of the public. VPN protects online browsing by shielding the IP address therefore, officials cannot access the user’s online activities. Hence, governments proceed to declare the use of VPNs illegal.
List of Countries Where VPNs Are Illegal
VPNs are legal in the USA, Canada, Singapore, and the UK. However, some countries allow VPNs only if they fulfill government requirements that ultimately hurt user privacy by allowing the government to monitor users’ activities.
Below are the top anti-VPN countries that will lead you to some serious fines if you get caught using a VPN:
China has a reputation for having strict censorship and surveillance for its citizens. The Great Firewall of China is a national firewall that controls the internet traffic of Chinese citizens. Many websites are completely blocked from access in the country.
VPNs are strictly not allowed in China. Only VPNs with a government license can be used. It means that if a VPN company wants to operate in China, it must meet the Chinese government policies, which means logging every user activity.
In case, if a citizen gets caught accessing a channel illegally or privately, then he will be charged a fine of 15,000 yuan (Almost $2200).
Iran is also included in the list of countries that hate user privacy and strictly ban the use of VPNs. The country blocks a number of international websites in an attempt to restrict western influence on its soil. VPNs are completely illegal in Iran, only government-accepted VPNs are legal.
VPNs that are legal in Iran are of no use because such VPNs keep government censorship and provide user data to the government when needed. Using an illegal VPN in Iran might get you imprisoned for up to a year.
The Russian government is also exercising strict censorship laws, and that’s the reason VPNs are banned in Russia. Only VPN providers that agree to log users’ data may operate in Russia. In case, if the user or VPN provider is found guilty, then they must pay a fine. For illegal VPN provider: 700,000 RUB (Almost $12,000), and 300,000 RUB (Almost $5,100) for user.
Iraq also doesn’t seem to encourage VPNs. In fact, previously, Iraq almost banned every social media site including Facebook, YouTube, and other encrypted messaging apps. Later on, the ban was only imposed for sensitive regions.
Oman also actively bans VPN and censors media. Oman’s government doesn’t encourage internet freedom and VPNs are not allowed for individuals.
However, institutes and organizations may use VPNs that are approved by the Oman government. In case any individual is found using an illegal VPN, he has to pay a fine of 500 Omani Rial (Almost $1,300). If any organization is found guilty, it has to pay 1000 Omani Rial (Almost $2,600).
Turkey is also very conscious of censorship and doesn’t seem to be friendly with international news and content. VPN usage is also prohibited in Turkey. But, a few VPNs can still break Turkey’s block.
VPNs are strictly forbidden in Egypt, and just like all the mentioned countries, Egypt also doesn’t like internet freedom, and many news and entertainment sites are already blocked there.
North Korea is not a good believer in internet freedom and has all but completely blocked access to the internet. However, North Koreans mostly use Kwangmyong which is a national intranet with limited access.
Cellular networks are allowed for foreign visitors to access the internet but VPNs are prohibited.
Are There Any Illegal Activities Associated With VPNs?
VPNs are banned in several countries, but certain online activities are entirely unlawful. Regardless of whether you use a VPN or not, certain activities will remain illegal. Below is the list of those illegal online activities:
Hacking refers to taking control of someone else’s data, computer, or network. It is illegal to steal someone’s data with or without a VPN.
Accessing Dark Web for Illegal Stuff
Performing illegal activities on the Dark Web is legally wrong. Dark Web is the part of the internet that harbors various illegal activities like drugs selling and more.
While not illegal in essence, it is one of the top illicit online activities for one reason. In torrenting, internet users frequently download content that is protected by copyrights. The use of such copyrighted content without permission is a crime. The copyrighted content may include songs, music, games, etc.
Is There a Penalty on Using a VPN?
If you use a VPN in a country where it is prohibited, then yes. However, you will not be fined in the USA and countries where VPN is allowed. Make sure not to get involved in any illegal activity using a VPN. Otherwise, you might face some serious consequences.
VPN is a Tool for Privacy
Still not sure what a VPN is and how it helps? Well, the abridged answer is that a VPN can be used for so many good things like maintaining privacy on the internet, accessing content from anywhere, or using public Wi-Fi. For instance, some users delete a Kik account to avoid privacy threats. However, those who are hanging on to their accounts are using VPN services to maintain overall security.
You cannot use FastestVPN in a country where VPNs are not allowed. In case, if you are traveling to any country, make sure to read its law regarding VPN before using it.