Are VPNs legal? There are many questions concerning whether using VPN service is legal or not. Well, it is all depend on your country regulations. As different countries have different regulations concerning technologies and their usage, you need to make careful research before using any VPN service – or similar things like proxies.
So, can you use VPN in for your daily use? Will you violate the law when using one?
Is It Legal or Illegal?
In America alone, using the VPN is legal. So the answer to your question about are VPNs legal or not, it is a yes. VPN is completely legal. In many countries, using the VPN is also legal. However, many people have misused and abused it.
They use the VPN service to do illegal (online) activities. So, basically, you have the rights to use the VPN as it is completely legal. However, you should also know some of the illegal things that can be associated with it.
People who use VPN for illegal activities believe that using VPN will not reveal their true identity. They think they can’t be tracked as most VPN service providers have no-log policy.
The Function of VPN and its Legality
As it was mentioned before, VPN is pretty legal in America as well as other Western democracies (like Europe). In other (less democratic) countries, the VPN is limited; even banned. Those countries include Cuba, North Korea, Russia, and China.
VPN is basically providing your own private and safe ‘tunnel’ for you and your internet connection. The system would encrypt your traffic so no one would be able to monitor or track you.
Since it will hide your virtual existence on the net, no one would know you exist. And if you don’t exist, then how can anyone hack you? That’s the idea of having a VPN service: you want to create a safe and private connection without having to worry about any prying eyes.
However, it doesn’t mean that you are free doing illegal activities with the VPN. You will be considered committing illegal act if you do illegal stuff.
If you try to access the dark web, for instance, or you want to perform frauds or scams, then you are basically violating the law. The VPN itself isn’t illegal but your actions are.
Moreover, you should also remember that VPN service providers are different from one another. They are legal, in general, but it doesn’t mean that they are able to deliver uniformed and similar high-quality service. If you are going to choose a provider, make sure to opt for the reliable one with reputation and credibility.
VPN and Basic Legality
Most countries allow VPN service, including in America, but there are several things to remember about this service. The VPN is able to protect your privacy, but it won’t be able to hide you from being caught or reprimanded or prosecuted from doing illegal activities. A VPN won’t be able to protect you from doing unlawful buying, violating the regulations, or theft.
Here are some basic lowdown for VPN service:
- America allows VPN usage. Using the VPN in America is okay and legal, but you will be considered doing illegal stuff if you violate the law – even without the VPN.
- Some countries don’t allow VPN. They even ban it. Those countries include North Korea, Iraq, Russian, and also China.
- VPN can be used to breach service terms. It won’t be considered illegal to access some services (like Netflix) with the VPN. However, it would be considered a usage breach.
- Law enforcement is still able to demand info. Most VPN providers state (and promise) that they don’t keep any log of their users. However, they are still obliged to share user info, especially when requested by the authorities.
What’s Considered Illegal?
Subscribing to VPN service is rarely illegal or unlawful, so you won’t have to worry about are VPNs legal or not. However, some online activities are considered illegal, whether you are using the VPN (or not). So what to look out?
- Torrenting or file sharing. This is typically considered illegal if the content is illegal. Torrenting is when users download and upload contents simultaneously. The contents are usually copyright-sensitive, even protected, like games, movies, and music.
- Using dark web, especially for transactions. Dark web is basically the dark area of the net, usually under the radar type. People access it mostly for doing illegal activities, such as selling or buying weapons, drugs, and also illegal pornography.
- Hacking. You are not supposed to get unauthorized access any other networks or computers, especially those belonging to other individuals or companies. If you have the intention to perform mischievous actions (like steal data, doing fraud activities, or disrupt the activity), then everything is illegal.
- Cyber stalking. It is extremely illegal to follow (and stalk) someone, even if it’s online. Most stalkers would use the VPN to cover your footprint or track.
What’s Considered Legal?
The encryption technology used within the VPN is meant to make your connection private. It means that you can maintain and retain anonymity while being online. It will also mask your online activities.
As it was mentioned before, some countries restrict free ideas and free movements. In areas like these, having a VPN can be really handy. However, the ruling authorities and governments think of this as a problem.
They dislike the idea of un-trackable internet usage. Are VPNs legal in these countries? Of course not.
But then again, you can’t really tell the intention of the people using the VPN. Some may respect their privacy so much, while some have hidden intention and mischievous purpose.
Some even use the service to breach Netflix’s term of service, for instance. This action isn’t fully considered illegal because it doesn’t really hurt the law itself.
VPN and Prosecution
After you learn about are VPNs legal, can you be prosecuted or even fined for using it? Well, if you live in the country where it is considered legal, then no. you won’t have to deal with penalty of such thing alike.
But if you are caught doing illegal activities as mentioned before, then you will be considered violating the law.
If you have shady intention with the VPN, then forget it. Using the service doesn’t make you completely invisible or immune to the law. But if you simply enjoy your privacy and you don’t want to be tracked or supervised, then using VPN is okay.