Worried about the safety and privacy of your data? Do you doubt your data has ever been misused or hacked? Is it legal to use a VPN in the USA? You might have so many reasons and doubts to use a VPN and that’s why you are here. Don’t worry in the next lines we will try to clear all of your doubts. So, let’s dive in.
What is a VPN?
If you are here then you might already know what a VPN is. VPN (Virtual private networks) are a life savior in these times when technology is at its peak but a user’s data and information are always vulnerable to cybercrimes. So, a VPN comes as a protector of your data and information and secures it from theft.
VPNs basically help you become anonymous on the internet and allow you to access restricted or blocked content. It changes your IP address and enables you to hide your identity. Some of the benefits of using a VPN are:
- It secures your data on public Wi-Fi.
- It secures your data for internet service providers.
- It secures your data from the apps you use.
- It secures your data from the government.
- It provides you access to any restricted or censored content.
- It enhances your internet speed.
- It helps you avoid censorship.
- It provides you with more privacy and better security.
So, a virtual private network saves you from almost every bad thing on the internet. It is almost like magic as it makes your data and information more private and secure. It, therefore, saves you from the follies of the internet such as cybercrimes, thefts, hacking, etc.
Are VPNs Completely Legal In The US?
Yes, using any Virtual private network is entirely legal in the US and other democratic countries. Since using a VPN provides you with an anonymous identity this advantage is misused by many users. Because of these illegal activities, some countries have banned using VPNs. You can definitely use VPN technology for securing your connection and protecting the privacy of your data and information so that your information remains safe and secure.
Netflix does block some of the VPNs for accessing the content that has been restricted by them on certain websites but it does not legally sue the user for using any VPN. You have to always do full research as to which content is blocked in your area and whether unblocking it through VPN might cause you trouble or not.
VPN lets users avail a lot of benefits as it helps the big organisations or companies to secure the connection with their employees. Because in today’s advanced times the data of these big organisations are always at the risk of being hacked or misused.
Illegal Activities Carried Out Using VPNs
Many countries have made using VPNs illegal due to the illegal activities that are being carried out. Different countries have different laws related to the use of VPNs. These laws ensure that no data theft, unlawful purchases, or criminal activities are carried out by using these VPNs.
Similarly, even though using VPNs are completely legal in the United States but the US government does put pressure on VPN companies to submit or hand over their data during court trials.
The illegal activities that are carried out by using VPNs are:
- Hacking: Invading the privacy of other people is ethically wrong. It is illegal and is considered a cybercrime. Hacking any website using VPN is completely illegal and wrong.
- Spamming: Using the anonymity provided by VPN to spam anybody is totally wrong and illegal. It can be counted among the increasing cybercrimes.
- Accessing the dark web: Some type of content is illegal to access or share. And accessing this restricted content using VPNs is completely illegal.
- Illegal file-sharing: There are certain files that come with a copyright or cannot be shared due to confidentiality reasons. Accessing and sharing such files through VPNs is entirely illegal.
Now, most of the VPNs have their own terms and conditions where it is clearly stated that no criminal or illegal activity should be carried out using their VPNs. And if this happens the user is himself responsible for the repercussions.
For example, viewing Netflix content through a VPN which is banned or restricted in a particular area also comes in violation of their terms and conditions. Because Netflix clearly mentions in their terms and conditions that such activity will lead to strict action against the user.
Why Have Many Countries Banned The Use Of VPNs?
Many countries have banned the use of VPNs due to the different laws and regulations that they adhere to. Each and every VPN provider has to work according to the laws regulated by the country. Almost ten countries have banned or restricted the use of VPNs. The below-given table will help you know the list of the countries that have banned or restricted the use of VPNs.
|1. China||Tightly Regulated||The socialist form of government still finds its place in China. Even though it is one of the most powerful countries in the world, it has still banned many foreign websites such as Facebook, etc. The government of China has almost banned all VPNs. The Great Firewall of China makes sure that no VPN works there.|
|2. Russia||Completely Banned||Russia’s complete ban on VPNs ensures the government’s full control over the internet and snatched digital freedom from the general public. This again comes as a move from the socialist government of Russia. But recently some negotiations have been made by the government as some of the VPN providers have been asked to blacklist the websites enlisted by the government.|
|3. Belarus||Completely Banned||The constitution of Belarus doesn’t allow censorship but there are certain laws that enforce censorship. In 2016, the government of Belarus banned all anonymous users on the internet which lead to the ban of VPNs. Since then digital freedom has got no place in this country.|
|4. North Korea||Completely Banned||North Korea has got an authoritarian form of government which is the reason why VPNs are completely banned there. Necessary needs such as internet access and cell phone services aren’t properly available to the people of North Korea.|
|5. Turkmenistan||Completely Banned||The government of Turkmenistan has made sure to completely control the media in the country as it has also banned foreign media outlets. The usage of virtual private networks is entirely banned in the country. Human rights are violated in the country on a large scale. Even in these modern times, it lags behind due to its adoption of the socialist form of government.|
|6. Uganda||Partially Blocked||The government of Uganda in 2018 decided to tax the users who wanted to access social media websites. This lead to people using VPNs to avoid the unnecessary taxes imposed on them. And as a result, the government instructed the internet service providers to ban the usage of VPNs. But there are many people in the country who are still using VPNs.|
|7. Iraq||Completely Banned||Ban on using VPNs came in Iraq as a tactic or part of a defence strategy when it was at war with ISIS. This led to Iraq banning not only the usage of VPNs but also access to the internet. And still using VPN in a country like Iraq is risky and dangerous and comes with strict repercussions.|
|8. Turkey||Completely Banned||Turkey comes with tight censorship and has made the usage of VPNs completely illegal. This is done to restrict access to certain information platforms or sites. There is control of the ruling party over the media outlets as well. Also, many websites, social media platforms, cloud storage spaces etc. have been banned in the country.|
|9. UAE||Tightly Regulated||Using VPNs in UAE has now become a crime and is considered illegal. The government has made sure that if any person is caught using VPN, he/she may be fined a hefty amount. The government believes that using a VPN allows users to gain access to illegal content. And this illegal content is different according to their beliefs.|
|10. Oman||Completely Banned||The government of Oman has made it clear that using any type of encryption in communication is illegal. Therefore, it directly bans the usage of VPNs |
in the country.
How Are VPN Bans Executed?
Different countries take up different measures for executing the VPN bans in their respective territories. It basically depends on the reasoning and type of the ban that the country has implemented. There are many distinct ways through which VPN bans are executed in various countries. But the basic structure that is followed to execute the VPN ban is:
- Registering the VPN providers: The countries that want to ban or restrict the usage of VPNs make sure that each and every VPN provider of the country is registered with the government. This makes it easy for the government to dictate terms to these VPN providers and control them.
- Enforcing new technology: The countries that want to ban or restrict the usage of VPN enforce new technology. This technology enables them to view the VPN traffic and view the invisible VPN users. This also enables the government to monitor and keep a check on VPN users.
- Strict Measures: The countries that want to ban the usage of VPNs often put out strict measures that come as a consequence of using VPNs there. These strict measures might include jail, a hefty fine, etc.
Some of The Best VPNs
Even though many countries have banned or restricted the usage of VPNs but the demand for these virtual private networks has been increasing in these times. There are many VPNs from which you can choose any one of your choice. But some of the best and highly recommended ones are:
This name has created quite a buzz in the VPN market as it has become one of the trusted and most used VPNs. ExpressVPN was set up in 2009 by a company based in the British Virgin Islands. It is one of the cheapest VPN services that you can avail yourself for the safety and security of your data.
The wide variety of server locations that it provides is commendable and beneficial. The unique and distinct features that come with using Express VPN are:
- It provides you with unique and guaranteed privacy.
- It has got a unique feature of network lock which makes sure that your identity is kept safe and secure. And this feature comes in handy when the internet connection is hampered.
- ExpressVPN does not keep logs of your activity. No matter what you browse or search while using this VPN, they do not keep a record of your activities such as IP address, browsing history, etc.
- It provides you with great speed as it is extremely fast no matter what geographical location you use.
- While using ExpressVPN, you get a choice of many protocols such as PPTP, L2TP, etc.
- You get a lot of server locations ranging from 148 cities and 94 countries.
NordVPN is one of the best combinations of speed, safety, and security. It was established in 2012 and since then it has covered milestones and has got more than 5000 servers across 59 countries. The highlighting features of NordVPN are:
- It provides top-notch and high-quality security and privacy as it does not keep a record of the user’s data or access history.
- It also enables you to go for a double VPN which provides you double safety and double protection.
- It comes with the availability of many servers and geographical locations.
- It has got a great speed that makes it more user-friendly.
- It also allows users to access Netflix despite the fact that Netflix blocks most VPNs.
Surfshark is a recently established VPN that came into the business in 2018. But it has successfully created a good image in such a short period of time. With its unique and reliable features, it has created a mark in the VPN business. Some of the distinct benefits provided by Surfshark are:
- It comes with strong encryption, amazing protocol selection, and does not keep a record of the activity of its users.
- The multi-hop connection that it provides enables the users to utilise two VPN servers simultaneously and increases the anonymity of the user.
- It can be used on any device and on any platform.
- It allows the users to smoothly view and gain access to geo-blocked content.
- It also allows the user to stay protected on vulnerable public Wi-Fi.
VPNs or virtual private networks have come in as a great utility for people in these times of technological advancements. Even though the benefits or advantages of VPNs outweigh the disadvantages but there are still many countries that have either completely blocked these VPNs or partially restricted their usage.
VPNs are completely legal to use in the United States and western democracies but it does not mean that the illegal activities carried out through these VPNs are acceptable in these countries. Also, many countries like China, Iraq, UAE, etc., have banned the usage of VPNs due to the access to illegal content that comes with it.
Can I Get In Trouble For Using VPN In The US?
No, you cannot get in trouble for using a VPN in the US because it is entirely legal to use VPN in the United States. But this does not mean that you are allowed to carry out all the illegal activities like illegal file-sharing, accessing the dark web, hacking, etc.
Is It Illegal To Use VPN For Netflix?
No, it is not illegal to use a VPN for Netflix or while trying to access the restricted content on Netflix. But if you are using a VPN for Netflix in a country where VPNs are banned then it may be illegal to use it. Moreover, Netflix doesn’t allow the usage of a VPN for accessing restricted content as it goes against the terms and conditions put forth by them. And it may take deterrent actions like revoking your account, terminating your access, etc. if the breach of terms and conditions is done.
What Are The Best VPNs For Privacy?
The best and most trusted VPNs that you can opt for for better security and privacy are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark. These VPNs come with top-notch privacy and security as they do not keep a record of the user’s data such as IP address, browsing history, etc.
Can I Get Caught While Streaming With A VPN?
You cannot get caught while streaming with a VPN in countries like the US where using VPN is completely legal. But in countries like Russia, China, Iraq, Oman, etc. you may get caught while streaming with a VPN because these countries completely ban the usage of VPNs.
Why Would Someone In The US Want VPN?
Someone in the US might want to use VPN for streaming restricted content, securing their data on public Wi-Fi, getting through network-level restrictions, and securing their connection or data and information. It can also be used for increasing the speed and enhancing the browsing experience.