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Are VPNs legal? from freemexy's blog

VPNs almost always legal. In most countries, citizens have a legal right to privacy, and simply using a VPN service is illegal in very few places.

Repressive countries such as China, Iran, and Egypt, do attempt to block users from accessing overseas VPN services. But they do not criminalize citizens simply for attempting to do so.

Russia has criminalized the running of domestic VPNs services that have not been issued a state licence, but again, this does not criminalize those who simply attempt to use them.

What you do when using a VPN may illegal
VPNs can help to hide what you get up to on the internet, and are therefore sometimes used by criminals to hide their illegal activities. Needless to say, simply using a VPN does not make any of those illegal activities any less illegal.

If the “crimes” committed using a VPN are culture-specific and therefore only illegal in a few countries, then it is unlikely that international VPN services will assist local governments or police forces in catching “perpetrators.” So no VPN provider is likely to assist authorities trying to catch people who use a VPN to watch porn in the UAE.

Similarly, international VPN providers are very unlikely help most repressive governments catch political dissidents. So critics of President Erdogan in Turkey can almost certainly use European or US VPN services without fear of betrayal by those services.

But… VPN companies will not attempt to protect you if you commit actions that are internationally recognised as being criminal, or which upset politically powerful governments with international reach.

If presented with strong enough evidence that a serious crime has been committed, many VPN companies will voluntarily assist even overseas police investigations. And they certainly won’t fight a valid court order. Quite simply, no VPN staff will willing to face jail for your crimes.

No logs VPN providers should be able to provide only minimal assistance to investigations, but even these can be forced to start keeping logs. And not every VPN provider who promises to keep no logs can be trusted.

VPNs are ubiquitous
Commercial VPN networks of the kind we discuss here are something of an unforeseen outgrowth from the technology’s original purpose. VPNs were developed to allow remote workers to securely access corporate intranets as if they were in the office.

And they continue to be used as such by ordinary businesses throughout the world, which rely on VPNs to secure their internal LAN systems from hackers, and to protect sensitive information when it is accessed by employees from the internet.

This means that:

a) Even in more restrictive countries, simply using a VPN does not look in any way “suspicious.” It is a routine part of day-to-day business.

b) It is very hard to block IP address traffic, as doing so damages business’ ability to operate, and therefore also damages the local economy. Places such as China and Egypt, of course, appear willing to take this risk.


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