Are VPN Legal?

Are VPN Legal?

When Some people think about VPN’s they wonder if it’s illegal? If it’s somehow shady or dishonest software?

In reality VPNs get used every day by millions of users worldwide including large companies and the government. A VPN is the most common method used for staff working remotely from home.

Using a VPN is legal in all but a handful of countries with strict and oppressive regimes like Saudi Arabia or China that ban or curtail VPN use.

This is because a VPN will not only encrypt the data you send and receive, but it will also disguise your IP address and prevent you being tracked. All of which is contrary to the interests of the governments of these countries. 

The primary purpose of a VPN and the principal reason people use a VPN, is for personal privacy and security.

It’s important to remember that VPN’s have gotten this shady reputation because we can use it for illegal purposes. I would argue that it’s the user rather than the software, the dictates whether VPN use is legal or illegal.

We can only hold each user accountable and responsible for their own actions online, and it is up to the user to avoid breaking the laws of the country. And because nobody can track the online activities of a VPN user, this is then down to personal responsibility .

Where are VPN illegal?

Different countries have various policies and laws on VPN use. But only a handful of governments ban or regulate the use of VPN.

You could probably already guess who these familiar regimes are, countries like Iraq, Oman, China, Russia, North Korea and the United Arab Emirates. These are countries that follow strict Internet censorship laws and can make using a VPN in one of these countries a risky endeavour.

Personal responsibility for how you use a VPN

Using a VPN is legal in the United States.

This is unless you’re using a VPN to commit a crime, things like Copyright infringement cyberstalking or hacking for instance.

It is important to read the terms of services of websites you use or you might risk getting banned for using a VPN, if they can detect you’re using a VPN which is highly unlikely.

It’s for this reason that we always recommend reading the privacy policy and terms of service if you sign up to a VPN.  One common annotation on these privacy policy’s is that you are personally responsible for any crimes committed while connected to their servers.  Some VPN providers may be obliged to report cyber-crimes or copyright infringement to local law enforcement. NordVPN keeps no logs of you or your activity at all. In fact, Nord VPN themselves cannot tell what you were doing while you are connected to their servers.

They base NordVPN in Panama, because Panama has no mandatory data retention laws and does not take part in the Five Eyes or Fourteen Eyes alliances. Which is an intelligence alliance encompassing Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Your internet activities get recorded and reported on by this alliance and others.

 

Your right to private browsing

Your right to online privacy has been a hotly debated topic for years, and in 2018 The United States Congress voted to dissolve regulations aimed at protecting internet privacy.

The results of this allow some companies to sell customers browsing and search histories to marketing companies. Amazingly, it also permits them to track your online activities and browsing habits to build a profile of you for “marketing purposes”.

Why use a VPN?

Millions of people worldwide and millions of organizations use VPN’s every day to provide additional online security and remote access. Here are some of the most common reasons people use a VPN which shows the features associated with VPN’s.

Stay safe on public Wi-fi

Public Wi-fi is everywhere these days, most cafes, restaurants and even McDonald’s provide free public Wi-fi. The problem is most of these providers don’t normally encrypt or password protect their Internet connections. This allows clever cybercriminals to drop in and monitor your activity while you’re connected to the unprotected Wi-fi. Read our guide on the dangers of public Wi-fi here.

But if you want to log into public Wi-fi, have a VPN enabled on your device so your data gets encrypted keeping you safe from spying eyes. NordVPN automatically protects you when you connect to public Wi-fi as long as you have the Nord app active on your device.

Access the content you want anywhere you want

If you want to watch whatever TV series latest episodes while you travel, you can use a VPN to do this. Using NordVPN, you can select a server in your home country and watch all the latest episodes of your favorite TV shows when they air.  Remember to check the terms of service of the streaming website to ensure you’re not in breach of policy. Remember to check if VPNs are legal in the country you’re visiting as well.

To protect your Internet privacy

A VPN offers you complete online privacy by preventing advertisers marketeers and indeed government agencies from profiling or gathering information about you.

If you are using a no log VPN like NordVPN, not even your internet service provider or NordVPN themselves can see your online activities. This is the ultimate form of online privacy. 

Bypass restrictions in your school, college or workplace

Many colleges, schools, and your workplace impose strict Internet browsing rules on employees or students. The firewall administrator can block certain keywords or websites.

You could consider using a VPN if you need to access particular material for legitimate reasons. You should check your companies policy, make sure you’re not in violation. For more information on bypassing school and workplace, restrictions read our article here.

Working remotely

You may be abroad on business or you might wish to just securely access your companies database from home, a VPN allows you to do both. Given the current global pandemic of COVID-19, many companies are having their staff work from home remotely. This for me like many people is a revelation and allows a lot of personal freedom along with personal responsibility.

A VPN allows you to access your work database from home securely, without GDPR problems or the risk of secure information being revealed.  If you are a small business and want to test this out, you can try NordVPN risk free for 30 days. You can connect up to 6 devices, which is ideal for a small business.

Conclusion

A VPN is a useful tool with many purposes. If you want to find out more about the other advantages of using a VPN, try our blog section. If you want to find out more about NordVPN security, encryption, privacy policy and additional features read our NordVPN review.

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