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Is it legal to use VPN?

It is important to understand the contribution that VPNs make to protecting the privacy of a citizen’s data and his freedom of expression. VPNs are allowed in most civilized countries of the world. Germany, Great Britain, France and the USA do not prohibit the use of VPNs. However, there are countries where VPNs are strictly banned by the government. Why is this happening? This is due to the dictatorial regimes in these countries wanting complete control over the information space, and freedom of expression, search and information is a tantamount to a threat to their control over statehood.




Is it legal or illegal to use VPN?

Unfortunately, this question does not have straight forward answer. The legality of using a VPN largely depends on your location: specifically the country in which you are or are going to be using the VPN. The VPN is a stumbling block for authoritarian governments that practice severe censorship and surveillance of their citizens. The reason for this is that a VPN is a valuable tool for keeping your traffic private, allowing you to counter ISPs that leak your data to the government.

Such governments deliberately stigmatize VPN services, explaining this by pointing to alleged criminal actions that may occur when using VPN services. In more severe cases, VPN is declared an illegal tool. In any case, the true purpose of this is to limit the freedom of speech of citizens who actively use the Internet.


Like any other tool, the VPN has both positive and negative sides and VPN's can be used for good and for bad. However, it is safe to say that for the ordinary people, who are in the majority, the VPN plays a positive role in their lives. VPN's help regular people:

  • Ensure the security and privacy of Internet searches.

  • Avoid disclosure of personal data when using public networks.

  • Maintain freedom of speech and be able to speak freely, regardless of the political regime in the country.

  • Access to important information on sites that may be blocked.

  • Discussing sensitive topics without fear of being exposed.

  • Protection of confidential data from hacking by cyber scammers, and prying eyes.

What countries make VPN's illegal to use?

In some countries, using a VPN is legal, but you must meet certain requirements. This greatly undermines the privacy and security of the VPN. These conditions, although 'legal' make it nearly impossible for users to legally use the services.

Regulations make it impossible for all residents of the country to legally use VPN and cyber security products.

Generally, state governments proclaim the requirements and restrictions in the law that the VPN must conform to, and the VPN service owners can be held criminally liable for non-compliance.


Although VPN's have been used for a long time for businesses, VPN's are a relative new field for users web security, and they have gained worldwide popularity among users who value freedom of speech and data privacy. Countries where censorship and authoritarianism thrive are eager to pass laws that would regulate or ban VPNs as soon as possible. You can learn about the constantly fluctuating attitude of different countries towards VPNs in the article "Freedom on the Net" from Freedom House.


For countries that do not maintain free speech for their citizens, you should check before entering to see if they have restrictions or prohibitions on the use of VPNs, even if these countries are not on our list.


Countries in which VPN are banned

China


The Chinese censorship system seemed to have outdone itself, and for good reason it is now called the Great Firewall. In order to avoid access to any unwanted and 'dangerous' information, traffic inside China repeatedly passes through special filters and blocking systems before reaching its destination. Without a VPN, you won't have any chance of free and private browsing. In China, VPN's are covered by the letter of the law, which means government has access to the logs and can directly backdoor of the VPN server.


Finding a quality and truly private VPN in China is a difficult task. The government can easily ban a VPN server or service if it does not comply with its authoritarian laws. However, despite the strictness of the law, fewer and fewer foreigners have recently complained about serious problems with the security of VPNs in this country. In general the Chinese population uses foreign VPN's in complete disregard of their governments attempts to control their use.


Russia


In 2017, Russia introduced strict censorship, and will only approve VPN services that meet its strict legal standards. You may question which VPNs were preferred and approved? The answer was obvious: only those services who are part of the regime and provide confidential data to government agencies at the click of a finger.


Russia completely prohibits ordinary users from accessing blocked resources using VPN. However, it is paradoxical that VPNs can be used in any other areas of life quite legally. In 2019, the Russian government tightened its cybersecurity bans. Roskomnadzor, the federal "censorship machine" in communications and media, ordered local branches of the world's VPN servers to immediately provide access to the government. For this reason, many VPN service providers left the Russian market. These providers explain their departure represents their commitment to the main point of the VPN - maintaining the privacy of users.


Belarus


Privacy technologies such as the Tor browser and VPN servers were banned in 2015. The government is a dictatorial president who tightly controls domestic traffic, preventing anti-government sentiment from leaking into society.


Turkey


Officially, the government has not made a comprehensive ban on VPNs, however, access to some servers has been banned by the government. Turkey filters politically objectionable content, as well as web pages and forums that disseminate what they deem "terrorist information".


Iraq


In truth, Iraq has never had exemplary freedom of speech. And when it comes to freedom of expression online, the ban on VPNs in the country doesn't come as a surprise. Compared to China and North Korea, traffic in Iraq is not subject to such strict censorship, however, you can be punished for using VPNs. In Iraq, even the very concept of censorship is taboo, so it is difficult to provide statistics on the use of VPNs.


UAE


In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there is no complete and obvious ban on the use of VPN, however, using it to implement fraudulent schemes and other illegal activities may add criminal liability to charges. If you are caught using a VPN, you will have to pay a fine of over $130,000 USD. The laws of the UAE are very ambiguous, but between the lines you can understand that VPN use is considered an undesirable or potentially dangerous.


Oman


In Oman, all traffic encryption is banned. However, the mechanisms for these bans have not yet been fully developed, which is good, since the introduction of such censorship would cut Oman off from the global Internet. Of course, this ban applies to both Proxies and VPN services. However, a government agency such as the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) can allow VPN use for certain organizations, and this is a loophole in the law.


Iran


As in many other countries, VPNs are semi-permitted, which means that only censored and government-approved VPNs can be used. Of course, 'approved' VPNs cannot escape government scrutiny of personal data. In order not to fall for the bait of the government, you should find a VPN whose traffic will not be registered. To improve privacy, we recommend using obfuscated and temporary servers.


Egypt


For unauthorized use of VPN while browsing in Egypt, you may face penalties ranging from a fine to imprisonment. In general, VPN servers remain legal in Egypt, but they should be used with great caution. We recommend using two-level protection of confidential data, for example, obfuscated servers or double VPN. Of course, the best defense is not to look for illegal content at all.


Turkmenistan


Turkmenistan is of the countries where detection of the use of VPN servers is severely punished, and VPNs themselves are all totally banned. In this country, the ban is one of the most stringent. And the country's only ISP, Turkmenet, is subject to severe government censorship. The censorship authorities in Turkmenistan monitor any and all of your activities on the countries network. Due to this, even obfuscated servers may be powerless in the fight for the privacy of your personal data in this country. Plausible deniability of use of VPN services is the only defense to their use in Turkmenistan.


North Korea


The most brutal authoritarian system on earth is North Korea, the internet is completely under state control. Government agencies not only ban VPNs, but also control every step of the user on the network. Their system is reminiscent of Turkmenistan, where only a select few can use the Internet, and only if it is an internal network. However, ordinary residents do not fear punishment for using VPNs, because they do not even have computers or mobile phones!


Uganda


The corrupt government of this country tried to ban VPN services for an extraordinary reason. In the pursuit of inventing new ways of taxing its citizens, the Ugandan government has introduced a tax on social networks. However, citizens found a loophole in this law and began to use VPN servers. In response the Ugandan government banned VPN services too. Despite everything, many Ugandans continue to use VPNs as if nothing had happened, and in complete disregard of the law.


Is VPN allowed in Canada and the US?


It is legal to use VPN services in both the US and Canada. However, they are not for use in illegal activities. Remember that illegal activities remain illegal not only offline, but also online. We appeal to your civic responsibility not to violate the law.


How does a VPN prohibition usually work?


In authoritarian countries, the mechanisms for banning VPNs usually function like this:

The VPN provider is obliged to provide access to its servers inside its country. Providers whose service policy does not support log archiving will be banned. Thus, they do not have the right to host their VPN servers in the country.

Checking traffic is done by using a special tool called deep packet inspection (DPI). Furthermore, in these countries governments can take control of any local VPN server, checking incoming and outgoing traffic, as well as discovering users' personal data.


Administrative and criminal penalties in the form of fines or even imprisonment may await violators of the laws prohibiting the use of VPNs.


The use of official VPNs is usually allowed by the government of these states. This phenomenon contradicts the very essence of the VPN since your traffic will still be subject to interception and censorship. In addition, these 'government sponsored' VPNs may offer annoying ads and collect your personal data. This information can work against you if it falls into the hands of the government or cyber scammers.


What are the consequences if I connect illegally with VPN?


Consequences awaiting you if you use a VPN that is prohibited in the country are:

You can be disconnected from the Internet by your ISP if they notice specific VPN activity from your IP address.


You may be issued a warning or fine for using VPN, the amount of this fine can vary between 100-100,000 US dollars in the equivalent of the country's currency.

In countries with a very rigid authoritarian system, you can go to jail. Be careful with the choice of VPN in such countries, so as not to get into trouble.


What are the ways to cheat blocking VPN?


Be extremely careful, carefully read user reviews and choose only a reliable VPN provider. Review the service's policy to see if it is cooperating with the government or third parties to collect your personal information.


Something that is free can be to your detriment and against your privacy. We recommend that you refuse free VPNs that collect personal data and search history. Among other things, the quality of the service they provide may be mediocre. Also, avoid using VPNs that are on government lists of licensed or authorized services.


In authoritarian countries where VPNs are banned, the following tips will be useful:

Obfuscated servers. This tool will help not to arouse the suspicion of the Internet provider, hiding the fact of using VPN, its metadata and data packets. Thus, the control services will not be able to suspect you of anything.

Double VPN. Double encryption, although it will reduce the speed of page response, will improve your privacy by passing traffic through two different VPNs.

Kill switch. This is an important feature that prevents your traffic from being exposed after the VPN suddenly stops working or was disconnected. This eliminates the possibility of revealing your use of VPN in Internet searches and accidentally exposing your information

A large number of servers. Your VPN will be more stable if the VPN company has a large number of servers in case one of them is overloaded or blocked. You also get the choice of which alternate virtual region to join.


How does ValeVPN help?


The services offered by ValeVPN can get through all these restrictions because there is no server to censor. You create a secure tunnel directly to the largest cloud providers in the world (the same ones that these countries also rely on to function!). ValeVPN automatically creates that secure session and then destroys it as soon as you are finished, so there is nothing for them to see, track. or censor.

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