Virtual private networks, more commonly known as VPNs, are often presumed to be shady. A lot of people think that they are used for illicit activities and for browsing banned sites. However, VPNs are not only legal but recommended to add an extra layer of security while browsing the internet. A VPN is only illegal when it’s being used for illegal activities. That being said, VPNs are yet to be legal in every single country. If you live in China, Russia, Turkey, or Iraq, among a few others, you may have to look specifically into the laws regarding VPN in your country.
Aside from a few exceptions, VPNs are largely legal. You should be able to use a VPN to browse the web. However, there are some instances where what you are doing or where you are connecting to can make your use illegal. Several countries have specific laws regarding VPNs. Therefore, it isn’t surprising for a lot of people to be confused about whether or not they can use a VPN legally. That, along with the fact that VPNs are made to disguise what you’re doing on the internet and created by companies under no particular jurisdiction.
Perhaps the question here isn’t whether it’s legal to use a VPN. The better question to ask is when the use of a VPN is illegal. Let’s take a look.
A VPN gives you more privacy
A great VPN is able to conceal your real IP address and keep you hidden from the eyes of other individuals and/or organizations. It can also allow you to access websites that are banned in your area – Facebook in China, for instance. A VPN gives you privacy. Along with that privacy comes power. That being said, it’s important for you to use that power wisely as to not cross the line over to illegal activity.
Here are four things that you can’t use your VPN for:
Spreading digital viruses
You undoubtedly shouldn’t be using a VPN to conceal yourself while trying to spread digital viruses. Don’t be that guy.
Illegally accessing other computers or networks
Remember – breaching the security of another computer or network is still illegal, even when you’re using a VPN.
Impersonating another machine to gain illegal access to another computer or network
Pretending to be another machine to gain access to a computer or network is a no-go as well.
Breaching copyright, trademark, and patent infringement
Torrenting or streaming content that is protected under copyright, trademark, or patent laws is illegal even with a VPN. Permitted peer-to-peer and torrent traffic does not mean a free pass to download copyrighted content.
What about using a VPN that doesn’t log user data?
Just about every VPN company out there claims that they don’t log user data. Don’t take them at face value. You’re never fully protected, even with a VPN. This is particularly true when you’re using it to engage in illicit activities. Even companies that don’t log your data on their own often have third-party companies who they rent servers from doing it. Don’t assume that a VPN protects you from the law. Use a VPN for legal activities only and you should be a-ok!