Let’s face it, privacy is an issue that will probably be around forever. As things like social media, online gaming, or other online activities become more and more popular, companies and governments will want the data that comes with them. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s a continuous one.
One “solution” to this is the use of a VPN, which lets you and your data become anonymous. And while there’s usually no catch to using a VPN, there might be a legal caveat depending on where you live.
Where are VPNS illegal?
There are quite a few countries that do not allow VPNs to be used, either because of “economic impact” or straight-up censorship.
A few of these countries include
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
In the countries listed, VPNs are banned entirely. This means that if you are ever caught using one, whether it’s to access Netflix or Local Militia Radio, you can be fined or even imprisoned.
Granted, there’s not a lot that a government can do when it comes to actually banning VPNs in their country. They can’t straight up seize the servers used for the VPN companies, but I’m sure that many have tried. China has even commanded ISPs to block the use of VPNs and their servers, though not many listened.
Where are they legal?
VPNs are pretty much legal everywhere else not listed on the above list. That’s not to say that any use of a VPN is legal though. Common sense would dictate that using a VPN for a crime would constitute
Having said that, not every VPN is legal in a technical sense. Many “free” VPNs have come out in recent years, all of them either doing some shady dealings or straight-up mining your data. For example, Facebook’s VPN that was found to be selling user’s data to third-party companies without consent, which is pretty illegal.
Just because you’re free to use VPNs does not mean that you need to use a free VPN. Businesses can get away on a technicality, we can’t.
The threat of legality
I believe that VPNs have an uphill battle coming to them in the future. Remember what I said earlier? That governments will want more and more data on any user they can? It’s already become a problem, for a few years in fact, but the problem will keep growing and growing.
But I’m not some guru who can see the future. I’m only a possibly-paranoid writer who cares too much about the future of technology. But think about it? More governments have shown an interest in restricting the usage of the Internet or collecting data on users. Looking at you Australia and the U.K.
Let’s take a look at Russia. Not only have they recently signed censorship laws, but they also just threatened VPN providers to adhere to said censorship laws.If these providers do not adhere to these censorship laws, they risk being banned from the country altogether.
I also see VPNs becoming a point of discussion in countries like the U.S or the U.K, where data surveillance is far too common. I wouldn’t be surprised if some politicians viewed VPNs as dangerous to freedom or whatever they’d like to say.
For the sake of ending the rant, let’s sum it up. Are VPNs legal in most countries? Yes. Are there some countries that they’re illegal? Definitely. Should you stop using one if you’re in one of those countries? No. Just don’t get caught.
Famous last words, I think. But it’s worth it.