VPN – is it legal or illegal?Neha Kapoor
VPN – Virtual Private Network is a service offered by internet companies, which provides an IP address for you to log in with and you could visit any website that is restricted in your country by the concerned authorities.
In simple terms, you will have access to any website irrespective of your regional restrictions imposed by the governing authorities.
To talk about its legality, it is a very sensitive issue.
There is a thin line separating the legal and illegal use of VPN.
More than 196 countries have approved the use of VPN to their citizens while a few provide limited VPN options and a few more have completely banned the use of VPN in their respective countries.
US is one of those countries which has offered the full usage of VPN to their general populous.
Let’s discuss the scenarios where usage of VPN is considered to be illegal and will cause the user legal issues with penalty or fine and may also involve some prison time depending on the critical breach of ethics using the VPN.
• Child pornography
• Unethical hacking
• Spreading viruses
• Spamming emails
• Fraud, theft, scamming
• Supporting or directly involved in terrorist activities
These are the most common mistakes done by men which leads to a hefty fine or imprisonment.
However, VPN has its good uses too and we need to look at the full picture to understand why more than 196 countries have made it legal for their citizens to use VPN without any restrictions.
Advantages of VPN
VPN has been constantly used by government authorities, private organizations, institutions, individuals and more due to the advantages they provide over the regular internet connection.
Let’s look at those advantages to better understand why the majority of the governments have made it legal to be used in their countries.
Data that you share over a VPN is encrypted and secure, so it cannot be easily hacked.
This provides more security to your network which is not possible with an orthodox internet connection.
• Remote access
This particular feature or advantage is being exploited by big companies by providing unprecedented access to their employees which helps increase productivity.
Work from home option derived from the usage of VPN by these IT giants.
• Sharing information
If you are dealing with sharing a lot of information with a set group of people over a long time, a VPN is a must.
You are guaranteed with secure and encrypted data while it is being transferred and sensitive information will be leaked outside this network at any cost.
Unlike the broadband connection where your IP is recorded on every website you browse; VPN provides a complete anonymity online.
Your IP address is masked with a different IP and allows access to both web applications and websites without disclosing your original device IP.
• Bypass filters
VPN provides access to blocked websites and bypass filters.
This is on the main reason for the increase in individual VPN users especially in countries with internet censorship.
You will have unrestricted access to every website that you are not to browse via broadband.
• IP address
Are you looking for an IP address from a different geographical location? (different countries or even continent).
VPN has the feature to provide a local IP of a different country.
Initially, VPNs are set up with a minimal configuration like bandwidth and network.
You have an option to gradually increase both of these factors by contacting your service providers.
This will increase the efficiency and performance which can be noticed with immediate effect.
• Cost reduction
A network and surveillance is a minimum requirement for security on a regular network.
In VPN, this is not necessary since you opt for a service provider, they take care of the security for you.
Also, VPN cost maintenance is very low compared to your lease line and broadband connections.
The line between legal and illegal usage
The usage of VPN is quite common these days.
The protocols governing the usage of VPN are very vague and there many grey areas to determine the legality of web access.
Even with all these factors, VPN is still being approved by developed countries like the US, Australia and more.
Trying to use a VPN in a restricted country is illegal.
For example, you are a citizen of U.S and you are traveling to China.
China has very limited VPN service providers and they don’t entertain any outside service providers.
If you access the internet using your VPN, then you are susceptible to be legally fined and may be imprisoned for a pre-defined amount of time.
This thin line between the legal and illegal use of VPN is quite confusing.
VPN service providers
How do you determine which is the best VPN service, provider?
There are many factors which will help you understand the best VPN servers available for you to choose from.
However, you can check websites like topVPNchoice.com which provides an exclusive review of all the top VPN servers with their offers and deals.
Let’s talk about the major factors that determine the best VPN servers.
• VPN service Tier – This talks about the types of services being offered. Tier 1, tier2 and so on are the option available for you choose from and most of the service providers offer Tier 1 service.
• Protocols – You need to wary about these 3 protocols when trying to choose a perfect VPN. PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN are the most basic protocols which are followed by the majority of these service providers.
• Network – Speed and bandwidth range that the service provider offers.
• Privacy – Zero log policy should be specified in the ToS, please ensure it is mentioned.
• Pricing – Pricing and Customer service should be up to the mark.
The world is a huge place and yet you cannot be invisible or make some private time for yourself.
VPN offers some sort of privacy to you but you are still connected to the digital world.
With that being said, VPN is completely legal and how you use it determines your fate.