Every person on the planet deserves the right to freedom of speech, choice, and respect for their private space, both in the real world and virtual universe, like the Internet. The VPN service is the guarantor of online privacy. Such a service protects the user’s actual IP address, traffic, and data and prevents the user from tracking.
However, some countries are not ready to protect the user’s right to their personal space on the network. Most often, those countries have authoritarian aspects and often ban VPN services. If you are worrying about the legality of VPN in your country, we have an answer for you.
Read our article to the end to find out in which countries VPN services are illegal, why countries block them at all, and what will happen if you violate the law on using VPN.
Why Do Some Countries Ban VPNs?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a technology that allows users to create a secure connection over a public network. This is usually done to protect sensitive data, like financial information or confidential business communications.
But not all VPNs are equal. Some countries have gone so far as to ban certain types of VPNs outright. Here are some reasons to cancel the legality of VPN.
|Political Reasons||In some countries, the government controls what its citizens can and cannot see online. They may do this for political reasons, such as preventing people from seeing information that could lead to dissent or unrest.|
In these cases, we can use a VPN to bypass government censorship and access the Internet freely. As a result, many countries with oppressive regimes ban VPNs to keep their citizens in the dark.
|Security Concerns||Another reason why some countries may ban VPNs is due to security concerns. When you use a VPN, all your internet traffic goes through an encrypted tunnel, making it very difficult for anyone to snoop on your activities.|
However, this also means that law enforcement and intelligence agencies cannot monitor what people are doing online. As a result, some countries believe that banning VPNs will help them keep their citizens safe by allowing them to monitor potential threats more effectively.
|Protections Based on Religion||In addition, some countries block VPN services due to religious reasons. For example, the authorities of some countries may prohibit users from using VPN since it gives access to any sources on the Internet. People can see alternative versions of religious views or cultural values that will not coincide with those that the propaganda of the country was making for many years.|
Thus, people can rebel against their power and overthrow it, which is unacceptable for politicians in authoritarian countries.
In general, the country often blocks VPNs in its interests to maintain power and keep up the image of the state that has been built over the years with the help of propaganda. Blocking VPN services is never about the user’s safety and its protection by the state.
Consequences of Illegal VPN Use
There are a few options in this case. In general, for illegal use of a VPN, you will need to pay a fine, or you may go to jail. You may sometimes get punishment of both a fine and imprisonment.
However, it is difficult to say that this practice applies to all countries that restrict VPNs or completely prohibit them. In many ways, the authorities and law enforcement agencies have not implemented high-quality tools for tracking the use of VPN services and are poorly versed in modern technologies. Most often, the punishment for using the VPN service is a pretext for fabricating a criminal case against a person who can speak badly about the country’s politicians online.
However, in any case, the risk is not equal to 0%, which makes using a VPN service in the territory of a country that prohibits it a dangerous act.
Where Are VPNs Legal?
It would be easier to say where VPNs are illegal. It’s because there are many times fewer countries that prohibit VPNs than those that allow them. Only 10 states prohibit VPNs in the whole world. We will look at these countries in the next paragraph. And now we will tell you which ones allow VPNs.
We can use VPN in nearly every country globally, including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe.
Important! Remember that you are always subject to the laws of the country in which you are living. So, if the VPN server shows you that your IP address is Belarusian and you are physically in the USA, this does not mean you are committing a crime.
Even though VPN servers may be from countries that officially ban VPNs, we can legally use these servers if you are in a country that has allowed VPNs.
Where Are VPNs Illegal or Restricted?
The following countries partially or completely prohibit VPN as a tool for obtaining online privacy:
|Russia||In this country, VPN services are legal in general; however, some private network providers are illegal forever there. In 2022, the Russian government began to block almost all VPN services that entered the Russian market.|
In addition, propaganda often justifies the ban on VPNs in the country by saying that VPNs steal personal data from users, which creates a distorted picture of the real purpose of VPN services for people.
|Iraq||There is a complete ban on the use of VPN services in Iraq. This was due to the actions of ISIS on the state’s territory. However, many years have passed since this organization ceased to pose a significant threat to the state. But the law banning VPNs has not yet been repealed.|
|UAE||In the territory of this country, VPN services are strictly regulated but not prohibited for use. So, for example, for lack of official permission to use VPN services, you can be fined at least 136,129 thousand dollars.|
The country’s authorities point out VPNs are not legal in the UAE since VPN services give access to illegal content. However, the issue of illegality is quite controversial, so the UAE authorities consider it illegal to use Skype or Whatsapp, which are legal almost all over the world.
|Oman||Oman completely prohibits the use of VPNs on the territory of the state. The law regarding Internet regulation in Oman is quite contradictory and confusing. Thus, the authorities completely prohibit encryption in Internet communications. However, in this case, providers must technically restrict access to SSL sites, making half the world wide web simply inaccessible. This interpretation of the law indicates a low level of awareness regarding VPN services and modern technologies.|
|Uganda||Uganda does not entirely block the use of VPNs but regulates their use partially. This country prohibits VPNs not because of authoritarian tendencies but because of taxes. Sounds weird? Now we will explain everything.|
Back in 2018, the Ugandan government imposed a tax on the use of social media. Because of this, users began using VPN services to bypass the tax for social networking sites. Ultimately, this led to the state government ordering Internet providers to consider VPNs illegal and block users using private network services.
|North Korea||This country differs from all other states worldwide in its rigidity towards the people. Everything is illegal except for work and love for the leader in North Korea. This country took the last place in the annual index of freedom. It means it is the least free country on the planet.|
It’s difficult to understand whether the ban on private virtual networks is something bad in this country. It’s because even the Internet access or phone calls are not available for a person.
As for the penalty for using a VPN service in North Korea, the person is put in prison. However, to break the VPN law, one should download the app and have a smartphone. This is almost impossible in North Korea.
Considering the poverty and intimidation of the population of North Korea, few people can violate the law on the use of VPNs in North Korea.
|Turkey||Turkey is not particularly different from the other countries on this list. Although the state is an excellent option for travel and recreation, the laws on users’ safety, their rights, and freedoms on the Internet are very doubtful.|
Thus, the state completely banned private network services in 2018. This is because the Turkish government also has dictatorial inclinations and blocks/subordinates everything that could threaten the country’s authoritarian regime.
|Belarus||Belarus, as a country completely dependent on Russia, operates on the same principles as its patron. Since 2016, the VPN services are not legal in Belarus.|
Like Russia, Belarus justifies such laws by saying VPNs threaten citizens’ safety on the Internet and steal their data. But we all know it’s not the truth.
|Turkmenistan||This country is not much different from North Korea since it also has several of the most severe laws, repressions, and rules against human rights within the state. The head of the country is an open dictator who can only come up with crazy laws and regulations.|
All methods of confidentiality are prohibited on the country’s territory, including the Internet. All VPN services are completely banned in the country, so citizens cannot see real world news and alternative living options.
You can get arrested and charged for using a VPN service, although many citizens still try VPNs without the government noticing.
|China||Despite the huge technological process, China is also characterized by authoritarian tendencies and comes up with more and more totalitarian ways to spy on citizens every year. While facial recognition may sound like something amazing for a democratic country, China uses these technologies solely for the benefit of the government and to spy on people.|
VPN services are no exception. The country does not prohibit the use of VPN services and they are legal there, but citizens can only download those that the state has approved. It is no secret that the state allows only those services that are loyal to the regime. So, in China, you can only download a VPN service that will be ready to provide the Chinese government with the necessary user session data, which makes using a VPN completely meaningless.
The punishment for using VPN is classic – prison or a huge fine.
As we said earlier, countries that ban VPN services are dictatorial and try to restrict people from the truth that the government is hiding. It can be news about events, a cultural aspect, religion, or even a way of life that authorities carefully hide from people.
There is no simple answer to whether VPNs are legal in your country. The laws governing VPNs can vary considerably from one jurisdiction to another, and they are constantly evolving.
However, in general, using a VPN is not illegal, and there are many legitimate reasons for doing so. If you are concerned about the legality of using a VPN in your country, it is best to consult with a legal expert or your local authorities.
- Are VPNs illegal in Europe?
The European Union doesn’t ban VPNs. However, some countries have implemented regulations restricting VPNs. For example, Denmark prohibits VPNs from accessing online gambling sites, Germany – from accessing websites that sell Nazi memorabilia and France from accessing streaming sites like Netflix.
- Can the police track a VPN?
Yes, law enforcement agencies can trace and track IP addresses associated with VPN usage. However, they will not be able to see the actual contents of your traffic unless you are using an unencrypted connection.
- Is it Illegal to use a VPN service?
No, there are no laws in most countries prohibiting the use of VPNs. However, some countries have implemented national regulations restricting VPN use. For example, Russia has banned the use of VPNs. And China requires all VPN providers to obtain a license from the government before operating in the country.
- Is it legal to use a VPN for Netflix?
Yes, it is legal to use a VPN for Netflix. However, Netflix has implemented measures to block users using a VPN to access content unavailable in their region.
- Is it safe to use VPN with my banking account?
Yes, as long as you know what you're doing, using a VPN for internet banking is secure. A VPN actually makes internet banking safer than it would be without one. When you bank over public Wi-Fi or through a home network, your data is protected by a virtual private network so that it is not compromised.