Are VPNs Legal?

Virtual private networks, more commonly known as VPNs, are great for maintaining privacy and evading location-restrictions on the Internet. These powerful tools not only hide your IP address but also encrypt all your traffic to make your online activities anonymous.

Though VPNs provide a plethora of benefits and are generally legal, a number of countries do forbid them from being used. So if you’re looking for information about VPN legality in your country, you’ve come to the right place.

However, before we discuss where exactly the use of a VPN is permitted or forbidden, let’s first answer what’s probably the most asked question on the Internet, given the sharp rise in surveillance and censorship efforts…

Is a VPN Legal?

Yes! A VPN is legal in the vast majority of countries around the world, but using it for any kind of illegal activity isn’t allowed. It goes without saying that if you’re up to no good over a VPN, you can and will be prosecuted by law.

So, while a VPN can help protect your online identity and personal data from prying eyes, engaging in illegal activities like selling drugs, spreading malicious software, or engaging in unethical activities like stalking, bullying, hacking or theft of data most probably will get you in serious legal trouble.

Sadly, there are some countries where the use of a VPN is illegal, but that has more to do with them wanting to keep a close eye on the online activities of their citizens and controlling what information they’ve access to.

Legitimate Uses of a VPN

One common misconception when it comes to VPNs is that they’re only needed by nerds or individuals hiding in their basements and indulging in some sort of unlawful activity. However, nothing could be further from the truth. As with any invention or creation, nothing is inherently bad. It’s just about how people use it.

Here are some popular uses of a VPN:

1. Anonymous Browsing

When you connect to a VPN, you’re able to browse the web anonymously. Since your real location is hidden, neither your Internet Service Provider (ISP) nor the government can track the moves you make online.

2. Access Blocked Websites

By using a VPN, you can access all websites, services, and apps to enjoy the content you want from any corner of the world. It changes your IP address to any country of your choice, allowing you access the content you want instantly.

3. Wi-Fi Security

If you setup a VPN on your home network, the traffic of all your devices gets secured with military-grade encryption. Similarly, using a VPN over public Wi-Fi networks will protect your personal data from being exposed to eavesdroppers. You can make any Wi-Fi safe with a VPN!

4. Find Cheap Deals Online

If you’re looking for cheap deals online, a VPN is your savior! Simply connect to VPN servers in different locations and compare the prices you’re getting to save big on flight tickets, car rentals, software subscriptions, etc.

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Countries Where VPNs Are Illegal

The following countries frown upon the use of VPNs and have instituted either a partial or complete ban on them:

NORTH KOREA Is VPN Legal in North Korea? No

North Korea has its own intranet for citizens, while true Internet access is only reserved for high-level officials. So VPNs are banned in the country, though foreigners may be permitted to use these tools.

IRAQ Is VPN Legal in Iraq? No

For Iraqi citizens, Internet censorship is an inevitable part of their lives. In a bid to stop the extremist militant group ISIS and monitor every Internet user, the government has banned VPNs outright.

BELARUS Is VPN Legal in Belarus? No

Following the footsteps of China and Russia, Belarus has also banned VPNs and Tor as part of their efforts to prevent citizens from using anonymizing tools to access blacklisted websites.

OMAN Is VPN Legal in Oman? No

The government of Oman actively censors the Internet, and while VPNs aren’t exactly illegal for public and private institutions, the use of these services is prohibited for individuals.

CHINA Is VPN Legal in China? No

To prevent citizens from circumventing the Great Firewall, all unauthorized VPNs have been banned in China. In fact, VPN providers have to be officially licensed by the government in order to operate in the country.

TURKMENISTAN Is VPN Legal in Tukrmenistan? No

Turkmenistan has only one government-controlled ISP which makes surveillance and blocking an easier exercise. Attempts to use VPNs and proxies to get around Internet censorship in the country are blocked and can lead to serious consequences.

RUSSIA Is VPN Legal in Russia? No

Russia’s new regulations require VPN providers to register with the authorities and block access to blacklisted websites. Moreover, users have to pay hefty fines if they’re caught using non-government sanctioned VPNs.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Is VPN Legal in UAE? No

One of the few countries with laws related to VPN usage, the UAE passed a new law that states VPN users could be jailed and fined up to $500,000 if they’re found committing a crime. Institutions, banks, and companies, however, can use VPNs freely.

IRAN Is VPN Legal in Iran? No

Iran has enacted a strict law regarding VPN use which forbids citizens from using VPNs that aren’t government sanctioned. Failure to comply with this law would result in a prison sentence of 91 days up to one year. Iranian government officials, though, don’t have much regard for their own censorship laws and continue to use these tools.

TURKEY Is VPN Legal in Turkey? No

Since the Internet is heavily censored in Turkey, the use of VPNs to access social media networks like Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook is popular amongst citizens. However, Tor along with certain VPN providers are blocked in the country in order to prevent circumvention of government censorship.

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Countries Where VPNs Are Legal

The following countries have no laws that prohibit the use of VPNs and their citizens can use them without having to worry about any legal repercussions:

FINAL WORD

The information provided above doesn’t constitute legal advice and is for educational purposes only. It’s your responsibility as a good citizen to be aware of all the applicable laws and regulations of your country. Therefore, make sure you always consult a licensed and qualified legal professional if you require assistance or advice.