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Are VPNs Legal? Find Answer Here

By Mark Henry

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a controversial technology. On one hand, it allows users to maintain online anonymity and access the internet more openly. On the other hand, it can be used for criminal activity.

Regardless, VPNs are thorn in the side of governments that wish to repress the online activities of the citizens.

This is the reason why many states have outright banned their use. Other countries have restricted their use with vaguely stated laws.

Although using a VPN is legal in majority of countries, there are several exceptions.

is vpn safe

In the middle-eastern nation of Iran, citizens are only allowed to use government approved VPNs. Violating this law can result in a year of imprisonment.

Despite this, VPNs are widely used in the country for accessing blocked website. Only anti-government activist and dissidents face the brunt of Iran’s anti-VPN law.

This means that if you are using NordVPN for Netflix or some other VPN for unblocking Facebook, the government will not intrude.


Russian citizens are not allowed to spread “extremist content” on the internet. Now, without getting into the politics of it all, one can easily guess what this term actually implies.

To escape pervasive mass surveillance, the Russian people have to rely on a VPN service. Doing this is risky task as the unauthorized use of a VPN can cost them $12,000.


China is not a great place to be an internet user. One is not allowed to access Facebook, Twitter or even Google in the country.

This is why it’s no surprise that people in China turn toward VPNs for some semblance of internet freedom. The bad news though is that these individuals can be fined up to $2200 for using an unapproved VPN.

To make matters worse, China has a system in place to block VPN providers. Rarely a VPN service break through the so-called Great Firewall.

Still, some VPNs are fighting the good fight and providing internet freedom to Chinese netizens. A NordVPN assessment shows that it works perfectly in the country.


Due to the deteriorating situation of internet freedom in Turkey, the demand for VPN has increased tenfold in the country.

To stop the citizens from accessing banned content, the government of the country restricted VPN usage in 2018.

United Arab Emirates

The Emirati government has not been kind to VOIP services like Skype, Viber and WhatsApp. All these services are blocked in the country.

Accessing services like WhatsApp is a risky venture. One can be subjected to heavy fines for bypassing government restriction in the UAE.

Interestingly, government institutions and businesses use VPN in the UAE with utmost impunity.


In order to stop terrorist organizations from using social media, Iraq banned VPNs in 2014. After this, the Iraqi government went on to ban social media sites and chatting tools.

Regardless, the government of Iraq struggles to control the prevalent use of VPN in the nation.


Belarus has been particularly harsh on circumvention tools. In addition to Tor, VPNs are also officially banned in the European state.

The Belarusian government has taken internet repression to the next level by restricting major foreign websites.


To utilize a VPN in Oman, you require a government permit. Otherwise, you will be fined 500 Omani Riyal, which make up for $1300.

Usually, receiving a permit for VPN is comparatively easier for organizations than lone individuals.

The Right Usage of VPNs

VPN is a wonderful technology but its wrong usage can lend you in trouble in most countries.

Following are some illegal activities you should avoid whilst utilizing a VPN tool.


Accessing private information of other individuals or companies is immoral, unethical and criminal.

Downloading Copyrighted Content

Many VPN services outright state in their terms of service that torrenting is not permitted. These services suspend your account if they notice you are downloading trademarked material.

Cyber Stalking

Stalking and harassing someone with a VPN will not do you any good. Many VPNs give away your information in such a scenario.

Accessing the Dark Web

Dark web constitutes a scary part of the internet where people trade drugs, weapon and illicit content involving minors.

Taking part in these activities with a VPN service can be troublesome.

Concluding Remarks

Coming back to the original question, the legality of a VPN depends on two things; the local law and the purpose for which you use the technology.

Using Virtual Private Networks to access social media sites and video streaming services is usually risk-free.

Just make sure to equip yourself with a capable VPN and use it responsibly.

Author Bio:

Ghulman Hussain is a writer who believes online privacy is a birthright and he is willing to debate anyone who thinks the contrary. He spends much of his time evaluating Virtual Private Networks for their security features. Otherwise, he is seen mostly binge-watching unfunny sitcoms.


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