Are VPN’s Legal, Or Can I Get In Trouble?

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VPN (Virtual Private Network) conjures images of illegal activities and mysterious figures on the dark web; in reality, VPNs are currently legal to use in many countries, including the US. VPNs encrypt your connection to the internet, masks your IP Address, and prevent others from snooping on your internet activity like the Government or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from tracking your virtual whereabouts.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to want this degree of privacy, but you should understand what’s deemed legal or illegal while using a VPN. You need to identify what you are doing while using the VPN as VPN usage makes it consider legal or illicit as per your government rules and regulations.

Where are VPNs illegal?

Different countries have different takes on the regulation of VPNs. Some Countries have outright banned VPNs, and some impose internet censorship laws on the usage of VPNs.

Those countries currently that either regulate or have outright banned VPNs include Belarus, China, Iraq, North Korea, Oman, Russia, and the U.A.E., to name a few.

Depending on the country, governments may impose fines on both the citizen and the VPN service provider for using an unsanctioned VPN. In addition to laws varying country by country, if you are caught using an unsanctioned VPN, you might have to pay a fine and be seen in a legal war against the law. 

VPNs may be legal in some countries!

Using a VPn is legalized in many countries. However, if you use a VPN to commit an act deemed illegal without a VPN, it would still be unlawful when using one—criminal actions like downloading or selling copyrighted information, hacking without authorization, and cyberstalking. Additionally, bypassing a website or app’s geo-restriction could violate the Terms of Services of some Websites or Applications. 

VPNs Illegal Activities

Using a VPN is not commonly unlawful, but certain online activities remain illegal, while you are using a VPN or not. Like:

  • Copyrighted Content: Downloading or Uploading of Copyrighted Content between users on the internet, Also known as torrenting. TOrrenting is deemed illegal in most countries, and you may get in serious trouble with law enforcement.
  • Cyber Stalking: It’s illegal to stalk someone online and cover your tracks using a VPN. And your logs might be present on the VPNs Server, and they can track the information back to you.
  • Hacking:  Gaming unauthorized access to networks or computers belonging to individuals or firms, wither to disrupt activity, carry out acts of fraud or steal data, is illegal.
  • Dark Web: Dark Web is always an under-the-radar area of the internet, where a great deal of illegal activity occurs, SUch as buying or selling drugs, weapons, and other illicit materials.

Legitimate Uses OF VPNs

There are many legitimate uses of a VPN that outweighs the negatives. Let’s discuss some of the most common and popular benefits of VPNs.

  • Workplace Security: Adding the extra layer of security to protect an organization’s sensitive data might otherwise render them unprofitable or result in severe intellectual property loss.
  • Masking IP Address to be Anonymous Over the Internet: If you do not want your ISP or any other website to track your activities over the internet. Using a VPN ensures that your IP Address remains secure and search engines can not identify the real person behind the VPN.
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  • Using Public WiFi without worrying about Privacy: Using Pubic WIfi to access personal information is not recommended. It’s effortless to look over your shoulder and contaminate connection with malware once a Hacker tracks your IP Address. Using a VPN allows your data to be more secured and protects your data when using unsecured wifi.
  • VoIP Services:  Using a VPN is recommended when connected to VoIP as you don’t want to go through a MITM (Man In The Middle) cyberattack. Because with MITM Attack causes the hacker to hear the whole conversation.
  • Bypassing Geo-Restrictions: You can easily use Netflix or Hulu while you are not present in the same countries. But remember bypassing geo-restrictions falls under the grey area, causing you to face different consequences if the ISP Catches you using a VPN for illicit activities. 

Can You Be Fined Or Prosecuted For Using A VPN?

You won’t be fined or prosecuted for using a VPN if you live in a country where VPNs are not banned or restricted. However, you could face prosecution for any unlawful activities you carry out while using a VPN. 

Using A VPn may not provide you with any protection in criminal cases, as many VPNs may claim to not keeping logs. But, they retain some information about their users, and they reserve the right to provide any relevant information to the law enforcement authorities if requested.

Most VPNs Provide No-Logs Policy, but you need to properly read the Terms and Conditions to understand how secure your information is.

Conclusion

A VPN is designed to keep your information safe and prevent unnecessary internet exposure. Since Internet Privacy is not a guarantee, you should take your time in purchasing a VPN to keep your information Private.

Remember that whichever VPN you are going to purchase has a “No Logging Policy,” and check to see which country the client registers. Suppose the client is registered in Five, Nine, or Fourteen Eyes Intelligence Alliance. In that case, you should look at other options as they are committed to sharing data between all other countries in the alliance, and your data is not secured since Governments can ask them for the information. The VPN Service Providers are obliged to share your information with them.