VPNs: What Is Their Legal and Safety Status?

Bigger opportunities come with bigger risks, and this is especially true for the Internet. While scrolling a Facebook page or watching YouTube videos is relatively safe, the situation changes if you want something more. For example, to download the latest season of your favorite TV show or make your own video sharing site.

Every time you have to deal with an unknown (and potentially unsafe) website asking you to provide personal data like email address, name, or phone number, you can easily fall victim to identity theft. You must have heard about VPNs as a security solution that helps make data transferring anonymous. But were you concerned about their legal status? Are VPNs safe to use? Let’s sort it out.

Benefits of using VPN

VPN stands for “virtual private network.” This software helps you keep yourself anonymous, hiding your IP address from the hosting website, internet provider, and even the government. This is especially useful when you need to bypass the geographical restrictions that some platforms and online streaming services like Netflix or Spotify set for their content. For example, if you reside outside the US but want to get full access to the Netflix library, VPN will help you sneak in and enjoy the feast as if you were a US resident*.

VPN gives safety

Unlike proxies, VPNs encrypt data, effectively safeguarding your information. This comes in handy for big organizations, corporations, and banks looking to protect their intellectual property and sensitive information. However, this works only if you rely on a trusted VPN service.

VPN gives anonymity

People who seek protection from the government’s all-seeing eye and the almighty Google that constantly monitors your behavior on the Internet (and then bombards you with targeted ads) choose VPN to enjoy the freedom on the web.

* As for Netflix, using VPN to get full access to the service is legal provided that VPN is legal in your country and you don’t misuse it pursuing commercial goals. However, utilizing a VPN is a violation of Netflix’s Terms of Use, and, therefore, can potentially lead to you being banned from using the service.

The legal status of VPN

Since VPN can be used for “tricking” the government, you may think that it interferes with the law. Nevertheless, in most countries, VPN is legal because its benefits outweigh the drawbacks. However, if you use a VPN for illegal purposes, such as breaching the copyright or spreading viruses, you will be held legally responsible for the outcomes.

Meanwhile, there are countries where VPN usage is forbidden or strictly regulated. It is illegal in some Muslim countries (Iraq, Oman, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) or communist/post-communist countries with rigorous surveillance system (Russia, Belarus, China). In Iran, North Korea, and Turkmenistan, VPNs are heavily regulated: only a few approved providers can offer the service legally.

Quality concerns: how to choose the best VPN?

When choosing a reliable VPN service, don’t get into the freebie trap. Using a free VPN is very tempting, indeed. However, only a few of them are reliable, offering a decent level of data protection. Paid VPN services are more secure. The pricing varies depending on the duration of usage and the variety of extra features included in the package.

Other factors to consider

  • Connection speed (some VPNs are so slow that downloading a new episode of your favorite TV show will simply take forever)
  • Privacy policy
  • Number of servers and their uptime
  • Customer support

When it comes to VPNs, it is essential to conduct thorough research of providers to make an informed and weighted choice. Also, consider a free trial before subscribing for a paid plan so that you can test the capabilities of your new “cap of invisibility” from the world of the Internet before making a final decision. We would recommend IPVanish VPN as it satisfied all the factors of a good VPN.

 

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