Is it Legal To Use a VPN Service? (Depends on Where You Live)

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Find out everywhere there is to find out about the legality of using a VPN service.

The short answer is yes.

If you just leave this guide right now, there is a 95 percent chance that you will never get into trouble for using a VPN service.

To make it a 100 percent, you will need to read the whole of this guide.

But the longer answer isn’t that complex either.

One could simply sum it up by saying that VPN is almost always legal to use and purchase.

The majority of the countries on earth grant their citizens to have a legal right to their privacy.

If we’re talking about specifics, then the right to privacy is guaranteed under the United Nations convention as well.

In fact, there are very few countries and regions who have made it illegal to use a VPN service for privacy reason.

It is true that repressive countries like Egypt, Iran, and China do tend to make efforts in blocking their citizens from accessing any and all kinds of overseas VPN service providers.

However, they have not criminalized the act of using a VPN service for their citizens.

Apart from China, Iran, and Egypt, there is also Russia who has actually criminalized any use of domestic VPN service that the government has not issued a valid state license.

However, again, such a measure doesn’t really criminalize people who are merely attempting to use VPN services.

This Security Gladiators guide will show users which country has what laws regarding the use of a VPN service.

We’ll list each and every country that has termed the use of a VPN service as illegal.

There are some countries that have restricted the use of a VPN service, we’ll talk more about them.

A few countries have outright banned VPN services, we’ll talk about them as well.

Before we actually start to go into the details of which country has banned VPN services, we would like to discuss some VPN points that we think every reader should consider when using a VPN service.

If a VPN service is illegal, what should you do?

There is no doubt about the fact that VPN services can heavily assist users to hide what they do on the internet.

As you can probably imagine, this is one quality of VPN services that a lot of people are looking to take advantage of.

Sometimes, criminals also use VPN services to hide all of their illegal and harmful online activities.

It goes without saying that simply because a person or an organization is making use of a VPN service does not mean that an illegal activity becomes a legal one.

An illegal activity remains an illegal activity regardless of the fact if there is a VPN involved in the whole situation or not.

Of course, there are those crimes which are only culture-specific.

One action could be a crime in one society and a good deed in another society.

Such type of actions is only illegal in a small number of countries.

In such instances, it is highly unlikely that a given VPN service would want to assist law enforcement agencies and/or local governments in bringing the “perpetrators” to justice.

For example, in China, reading religious texts online or forming a group on social media apps can sometimes land you in jail.

If the user makes use of a VPN service to do that in China, then no VPN service would want to assist Chinese authorities in trying to catch such people.

There are lots of other cases.

International Virtual Private Network providers are also very likely to not assist the most repressive of governments that try to jail political dissidents without proper cause.

In other words, those who want to criticize governments in North Korea or some parts of South America can do so with the use of a US or European VPN service.

Such users don’t have to worry about these VPN services betraying them by giving up their critical and personal data.

Now here comes the HUGE but.

VPN services do protect online users but they do not make any attempts to protect the user if the user has tried to commit actions that the international community universally considered as a crime.

Moreover, VPN services are also unlikely to help the user if the user has tried to upset powerful (politically speaking) governments that have an international reach.

If a given law enforcement agency presents a given VPN service strong evidence on a given VPN user who has committed a serious crime, then most of the times the VPN service itself would voluntarily assist the law enforcement agencies in order to carry out their police investigations.

It is also true that VPN service providers almost always never resits court orders which are valid.

In simple terms, there is hardly a VPN service provider who would risk sending the company’s staff to jail for the crimes that one of the company’s customers has committed.

Some VPN services like to define themselves as no-logs VPN services.

These are VPN services that keep very little information on the things that their customers do on the internet while they are connected to their VPN servers.

Such VPN services can only provide law enforcement agencies with a minimum of information when they come knocking on the door for some data to assist in their investigations.

However, law enforcement agencies and the courts can force such VPN service providers to start keeping user logs.

The other thing readers need to know is that just because a VPN service says that it does not keep any logs does not mean that it does not keep any logs.

In other words, one has to look at the reputation of a given VPN service in order to know for sure if they do or don’t keep VPN logs.

There are lots of VPN service providers who promise that they don’t keep any user logs, but then make news headlines for handing over their user data to authorities on request.

What we mean to say is that users should not trust a given VPN service provider that does not have a good reputation.

Users who are looking for a VPN service that is truly secure or a VPN service providers that they can just trust have actually taken the first good step of coming here and reading our guide.

At Security Gladiators, we have a very rigorous process of reviewing VPN service providers.

Generally speaking, if a VPN service provider does not have a good reputation, then regardless of what that VPN service boasts about on its official website, users should try and stay away from it.

At Security Gladiators, we usually look at the privacy policy documents of these VPN service providers and what they have done in the past.

This way, we can make sure that the VPN services that we recommend are the best in the market when it comes to privacy and online anonymity.

We have many guides for users who want to know about the best VPN services available in the world.

Click here to read the top 10 VPN service providers in the world guide.

And click here if you want to know more about the best free VPN service providers in the world right now.

VPN services are starting to become ubiquitous

The very important thing that readers need to understand here is that modern VPN services which are totally commercial in nature are totally different from VPN services of the old.

On this forum, we only discuss the commercial and modern VPN services that are available to users today.

What we mean to say is that VPN services have evolved a lot as their functionality has increased.

This technology’s original purpose was nowhere near to what it is today.

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In the beginning, researchers developed the VPN software in order to enable office workers to access their machines remotely.

Using these old VPN services, workers could securely access their company’s corporate intranet from any location outside the office.

We are not disputing the fact that ordinary businesses don’t do that today as well.

In fact, throughout the world, businesses still rely on VPN services to make sure that their sensitive messages are safe.

Companies have very few other options than a VPN when it comes to relying on service to secure them and their internal Local Area Networks systems from all types of hackers and cybercriminals.

As mentioned just now, VPN services also protect the user’s sensitive information when employees have to access it from the internet rather than the intranet.

What does that mean in real life?

It means that,

  1. Users who want to use a VPN service to hide their activity don’t have to worry about looking suspicious even in countries where there are restrictive policies.
    Those looking to hijack people’s privacy would simply see the use of a VPN service as a part of the day-to-day running of a given business.
  2. It becomes fairly hard to block and prevent the use of a VPN service because so many businesses are relying on it to carry out their daily activities.
    In other to not do any damage to the economy of the country, those in charge have to think about not damaging their business community.
    Countries such as China along with North Korea and some parts of South America seem to have taken the risk of damaging their businesses in order to keep an eye on what their people are doing on the internet.

The main issue with the use of a VPN service is not legal.

It is something else.

Sometimes blocking a VPN service is an absolute necessity to make sure that everybody is able to carry out their daily tasks without much trouble.

Places where blocking a VPN service and all other anonymizing tools may prove useful include,

  • College Dorms
  • Schools
  • Offices

Such places usually block access to various kinds of disturbing websites along with other objectionable internet content.

And the do it for fairly understandable reasons.

If a user makes use of a VPN service in order to unblock content in such cases then that is generally not considered as an illegal act.

Of course, if the authorities catch the user employing a VPN service in order to bypass their restrictions then the user may or may not have to face some unpleasant consequences.

Think of it this way:

No teacher in the world would appreciate the fact the student has used a VPN service in order to message his/her friend on the social media site we call Facebook while the teacher was busy delivering a lecture.

We’re assuming here that the teacher actually catches the student in such a situation.

Similarly, if the boss catches an employee watching inappropriate content with the help of a VPN service then there is a good chance that the employee might get the sack.

Not always though.

Are there any countries where you can’t use a VPN service?

Yes.

There are countries where governments have banned the use of VPN services for all internet users.

While going through this list, users should take note of the fact that these countries ban VPN services for any and all activities.

So, you won’t save yourself from legal consequences even if you use a VPN service to access an image bank site or to watch a free video on Sky Sports.

Apart from the countries that we’ll mention below, it is 100 percent legal to use a VPN service in the rest of the countries.

VPN users won’t cause any controversy for using a VPN service if they are not based in countries such as,

Iran

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The government in Iran makes no secret of the fact that it blocks complete access to a pretty wide range of online services and websites.

Want to use Facebook?

Sorry.

You can’t do that in Iran.

How about a quick tweet?

No.

Iran has also blocked Twitter.

Okay, so maybe you want to send one of your contacts a private message using Telegram.

Nope.

You can’t do that since the government has also banned the Telegram messenger application.

Iran only allows the country’s citizens to use those VPN service providers that the government has approved.

Most of these VPN service providers are domestic VPN service providers.

Apart from that, the government has banned all international VPN services.

So there is no way to bypass Iranian government blocks if one lives inside the region that we call as Iran.

Theoretically speaking, any user who makes use of a VPN service in order to pay a visit to a forbidden website can potentially look forward to a jail sentence.

The jail sentence can last anywhere from three months to a full year.

But that’s just the theory.

Let’s talk about what really happens.

First off, the fact that the government has banned VPN services does not mean that people don’t use them.

They do.

In fact, the use of a VPN service in Iran is pretty much widespread.

How do we know that?

More appropriately, how does anyone know that?

Well, it turns out, about 13 to 16 million users on Facebook identify themselves as Iranians.

Moreover, about 23 million users of the Telegram messenger app are Iranians.

Some have even alleged that more than a few members of the current Iranian parliament regularly make use of VPN services in order to bypass their government’s own censorship laws.

However, whether VPN use in Iran is ubiquitous or not is beside the point.

We say that because, on the face of it, it may look like there isn’t a lot of risk involved in making use of a VPN service in Iran.

It may or may not be true.

At the time of writing this report, we had not come across a lot of cases where the government in Iran arrested someone solely because the person made use of a VPN service.

Click here to see a list of VPN services that work best in Iran.

Iraq

Some say that the government has banned VPN services in Iraq.

But none of these reports have been confirmed.

On the face of it, it would make sense though because the government in Iraq would definitely want groups such as ISIS not exploiting VPN services.

It is very hard to know what the on-ground situation is at the moment.

However, there is little doubt that Iran (even now) has the technical expertise and the infrastructure to successfully implement various kinds of VPN blocks.

The government may also have methods to detect users who are utilizing VPN services.

Some signs point towards the fact that a lot of people in Iraq make use of VPN services.

At least in areas where there is stable internet access.

However, it is also very likely that the government has found ways to heavily police the actual use of the internet when it comes to real-world usage.

As for VPN options, there are VPN services present in the market that claim to work in Iraq.

All that is required to get to these VPN services is a quick Google search.

So go do that.

UAE or the United Arab Emirates.

Back in the year 2016, many media reports revealed that the United Arab Emirates had actually gone ahead with its plan to ban VPN usage.

At the time, some reports even mentioned that the UAE had decided to call any type of tampering with the normal internet as equivalent to a crime.

Of course, there is a decent amount of lack-of-clarity here.

In other words, no one can ascertain if using a VPN on its own is enough for an individual to get into trouble or the user only gets into trouble if he/she tries to access content that the TRA (Telecom Regulatory Authority) has banned.

Some feel that the individual may have to face the law while using a VPN service only if the individual tries to access prohibited content.

At the time of writing this guide, if authorities in the UAE catch someone then that special someone can look forward to paying around $500,000 (or AED 2 million) fine.

The authorities in UAE may also give the lawbreaker some prison time if they feel it would help to keep the lawbreaker away from prohibited content in the future.

However, the reality on the ground may be different.

Why do we say that?

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We say that because we haven’t heard much about UAE authorities actually convicting someone for nothing but the use of a VPN service.

Some reports have indicated that the use of VPN is pretty common in the UAE as well.

Of course, there is no way to ensure the validity of that claim.

Our research shows that the largest percentage of people who use a VPN service in regions such as the UAE are expats.

Expats who want to access Netflix of their choice.

Our readers would already know that the only viable way of doing that is to turn on a VPN service and binge away.

Of course, a VPN service doesn’t unblock US Netflix but many other international and premium streaming services.

We are also inclined to think that using a VPN service in UAE may come with a rather low amount of risk.

Moreover, we also think that the authorities in the UAE would not want to alarm the region’s international community that brings in a lot of money to their markets by making a huge fuss about what they can or cannot watch in the privacy of their homes.

There is no way to confirm this but logic tells us that the UAE would not be too hard on someone who uses a VPN service to access a streaming service such as Netflix and/or Hulu.

Of course, if it is a UAE citizen who has purchased a VPN service in order to bypass and/or evade internet censorship then it is highly likely that the UAE authorities would jump into action in order to take that individual to task.

The same goes for someone who publicly shows political dissent.

Readers should understand this very fine point that if they want to talk against governments then they should probably stay away from the likes of UAE, China, Iran and much of the Middle East.

One other thing that isn’t as clear now is whether or not the telecom companies in the UAE has the capacity to monitor and then stop VPN use.

It is now common knowledge that spying agencies of all sorts have the ability to use techniques such as deep packet inspection or DPI.

Techniques such as DPI are very useful to analyze online internet traffic.

However, it seems that authorities in the UAE still have not blocked access to VPN connections and VPN websites.

Users who are bent on using a VPN service in the UAE because they think the benefits far outweigh the possible downsides, then they should go with VPN services that have the capability to offer them obfuscation and/or stealth technology.

Our strong recommendation for such VPN services comes from the fact that we genuinely want users to be safe while they are using a VPN service in UAE.

There are lots of lists on which are the best and most secure VPN services in the market today and we’re sure Google can help you with that.

Readers who want to know everything there is to know about how to use a VPN in UAE and bypass Middle East restrictions should click here.

Our guide will show you all the best methods using which you too can bypass censorship tools in places such as the UAE.

North Korea

Generally speaking, upon listening to the words “North Korea” people just assume that using a VPN service in that country is completely illegal.

We don’t know if that is the case or not for sure.

But what we do know for sure is that, for North Korea, such a law may not bring in any benefits.

Our research shows that so far, the government in North Korea have shown very little interest in making sure that they effectively censor their international visitors’ access to the wider world of the internet.

That leads us to the point that some people may like to think that if they even try to hide their online activities and other browsing habits while they are visiting North Korea then that might peak the interest of the country’s security services.

However, our research tells us that if you are nothing but a tourist in North Korea, the agencies there simply won’t care what you do in the online world.

Or at least there is a very high chance that they won’t waste resources on the tourism and what that tourist is dong online.

In any case, we suggest that users should always play it safe when in doubt.

In other words, users should stay away from any type of behavior which the government in the country might consider as inappropriate and/or suspicious.

Of course, visitors are free to do as they like when they leave the country.

The thing readers need to understand here is that it is never a good idea to get on the wrong side of the law when it comes to the government in North Korea.

Various media reports have warned visitors to be vigilant while they visit North Korea.

Now, we’ve talked a lot about people who are visiting North Korea and how the government does not really care what they do on the internet or if they use a VPN service or not.

But what about the citizens of North Korea?

Should they use a VPN with their internet connection?

We’re not sure how to answer that question.

Why?

Because the majority of the people living in North Korea don’t really have an internet connection.

In fact, a proper internet access is only available to a very special and select group of senior government officials, scientists and elite students along with journalists and some others.

We’re going to assume here that North Korea allows unrestricted internet access to journalists.

Of course, neither us nor can anyone else confirm whether or not North Korea truly provides journalists with unrestricted internet access.

Readers should also take note that it is highly likely that the government in North Korea is keeping a watchful eye on the group of people that we have mentioned above.

It is because of this reason why we think that these people would get into some big trouble if they do not follow the law or do anything that may upset the government in North Korea.

In short, the internet isn’t such a free and/or consequence-free place for people in North Korea.

People should take some serious time off to think about whether or not they want to use a VPN service while living in North Korea.

As far as an actual law goes, we don’t think that the North Korean government has what it takes to go that far.

Since the total number of circumstances where the individual can have access to the internet is so small, there is really no need to pass a country-wide law which would make the use of a VPN service illegal throughout the country.

For visitors who are going to North Korea for a holiday or something else, they should sign up for a premium VPN service that works in restricted countries such as North Korea and China.

Oman

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Here is how the telecommunications law in the great country of Oman works:

No one is allowed to use any known method of obfuscation and/or encryption without going through the process of acquiring clear and explicit permission from agencies in the Oman government beforehand.

This law is very impractical.

Why do we say that?

We say that because the modern internet simply cannot work without encryption.

Even for the most basic of e-commerce operations require encryption.

About eight years ago (in 2010) the TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority) in Oman sought consultation from the public over an upcoming draft regulation.

That regulation would have allowed the TRA to make VPN absolutely illegal for use in Oman.

Moreover, it would not only have banned VPN use privately, but also commercially.

In other words, the establishment too had to require a special license from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority if it wanted to make use of a VPN service for any commercial use.

Of course, that draft regulation never got to materialize.

Additionally, the feedback that the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in Oman received about the proposed regulation did not make it to a public platform.

Our research shows that there are some unconfirmed and a small number of reports which say that the Oman government requires its citizens to only make use of state-sanctioned and domestic VPN service providers.

However, assuming that is really the case with people living in Oman then it is quite obvious that a lot of them are simply ignoring this recommendation from their government.

We have also come to know that a lot of people living in Oman make use of VPN services in order to evade the government’s strict and sometimes unnecessary internet censorships.

VPN services can get people through in Oman.

And so far, we have not come across proof of any measure that the government in Oman has taken against such people.

We think it is a great idea for any user to simply Google best VPN for Oman in order to find out more about which VPN services should they sign up for if they want to access everything the internet has to offer in Oman.

Syria

Now, where should we start on this one?

In the previous sections, we mentioned that we did not know much about the true VPN situation as far as countries like Iraq were concerned.

Well, when it comes to Syria, we (and everybody else) knows even less.

What we, and (again) everyone else, knows is that there is a really brutal war going on in Syria.

And that means the internet connection Syria isn’t how most people in New York would imagine it.

In other words, it is unstable.

Moreover, the government in Syria has placed severe censorship measures on its people accessing the internet.

There is also some police intimidation.

Sometimes, people can get arrested and even tortured if they try to do something the government doesn’t want them to do.

Examples of these people include journalists and political dissidents.

For such people, the fear of the government coming after them with some nasty is a fact of life rather than an anomaly.

The Assad-led government in Syria controls the present internet infrastructure in the country.

It has a firm hold over it.

The government also makes sure to heavily monitor different internet cafes.

As a consequence of that, people have started to use illegal mobile phones that make use of Lebanese and/or Turkish network SIM cards and satellite connections.

These two methods form the primary way people in Syria access the wider world of the open internet.

Our advice to readers is that they should exercise extreme caution when trying to use a VPN service in countries such as Syria.

However, users who want to know more about Syria and the VPNs that one should use while in Syria should Google it to come up with some good options.

Turkmenistan

As far as government repression and close-mindedness go, there are very few governments ahead of the government in Turkmenistan.

It is pretty close to North Korea in terms of the restrictions it places on internet use in the country.

Our research shows that a tiny percent of the total population of the country has access to free internet.

Others are living without it.

Moreover, the internet available in Turkmenistan is expensive.

Like really expensive.

More like prohibitively out-of-reach expensive.

Additionally, the government makes special efforts to make sure that the internet in the country is slow.

Very slow.

On top of that, it subjects that slow internet to a great amount of censorship.

Some reports have stated that in Turkmenistan there is only one internet service provider.

And that internet service provider is controlled by the government.

One report (click here for the report) said that the government has the ability to not only detect but also block the use of VPN services and proxy servers in order to access the free and open internet.

The government also subjects the users of these technologies to administrative penalties.

Sometimes they are summoned in the Ministry of National Security for preventive conversations.

This is where these people who dare to use VPN services face a good amount of intimidation.

Needless to say, if there are five countries on earth where one must no use a VPN service no matter what, Turkmenistan is one of them.

What about countries where the government has blocked the use of VPN services?

Banning the use of a VPN service is one thing.

But what about just blocking?

There is a difference between the two right?

Right.

The thing we want readers to understand here is that there is a difference between a government banning the use of VPN services and a government blocking the use of VPN services.

So far in this guide, whenever we have mentioned that some government has banned a VPN service, what we meant was that the government undertook some technical measures in order to prevent their citizens from accessing the internet with the use of a VPN service.

Almost all of the time, these restrictions are placed only on the people who have citizenship of that country.

Also, governments only want to stop people who make use of VPN services to bypass government censorship tools.

To put it in simpler terms, if a user makes use of a VPN service (or just makes an attempt to use a VPN service) for the sake of it, then that is not really illegal.

As of now, we haven’t heard of anyone getting into trouble for simply using a VPN service in these countries.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the countries that fall into this category.

China

The GFW, of the Great Firewall of China, has become notorious for employing the most sophisticated and far-reaching internet censorship systems in the world.

Hence, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that China does not want its population (the whole 1.6 billion of them) to bypass the Great Firewall of China with the use of nothing but a VPN service.

The Chinese government employs a really wide range of advanced technologies.

Almost all of these technologies help the Chinese government to block user access to all known international VPN service providers.

Some of the most basic technologies make use of simple blocklists of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses which the Chinese government thinks belongs to the VPN servers of various VPN service providers.

On the other hand, there are some advanced technologies such as the DPI technique.

As mentioned before as well, the DPI term stands for Deep Packet Inspection.

It is a very sophisticated technique which assists government agencies in China to detect if and when a user has made use of VPN protocols.

It goes without saying that most VPN official websites cannot withstand the blocking capacity of the systems that the Chinese government has installed for people living in China.

As a result of those technologies, no one can access VPN official websites while in China.

China currently has about 720 million people who make use of the internet.

With that said, it is also true that for such a huge number of people even the most sophisticated and far-reaching online surveillance system that the world has ever seen is bound to come under a lot of pressure.

And when there is a lot of pressure, there is usually a lot of struggle.

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We have already mentioned the fact that most of the major VPN services in the world simply do not work in China.

They don’t work in China not because they don’t like China.

They can’t work in China because the Chinese government has blocked them from working in China.

So what does that mean?

Does that mean you can’t use a VPN service in China no matter what you do?

No.

It does not mean that.

You see, VPN services have the survive somehow.

Even for the sake of the Chinese people living in China.

In other words, many VPN service providers have come up with technologies that they call stealth and/or obfuscation.

VPN services use these technologies in order to the hide the fact that a particular user is making use of a VPN service.

Great right?

Well, as a result of such features we have seen that many people in China have started to sign up for these services.

The other reason why so many people are starting to sign up for these VPN service providers is the fact that these VPN service providers have done all the hard work of being available in China.

Of course, users can make their life a lot easier if they just listen to us and sign up for a VPN service and then download its official software application while traveling BEFORE they enter countries like China.

The other thing readers need to understand here is that when we say China, we mean mainland China.

We don’t mean Hong Kong because the Great Firewall of China does not cover places such as Hong Kong.

That means another thing:

Hong Kong has a free and open internet infrastructure.

There are no censorship tools there.

Many media reports have also revealed that the Chinese government has started to crack down of VPN services.

But in reality, this crackdown is only for VPN services that operate within China.

Such crackdowns don’t criminalize people using VPN services in order to evade the Chinese Great Firewall.

It is another fact that all such crackdowns and other measures are pretty much useless when pitted against some of the best international VPN services in the world.

We’re not saying there are no clouds on the horizon.

In fact, we see that there are many clouds gathering on the horizon.

But we feel good times are yet to come.

Right now, using a VPN service in China can become an unpleasant experience.

About two years ago, the Chinese government jailed a small time and really not a very successful reseller of VPN services in China.

Perhaps we should not hide the fact that this indeed represented a one-off case.

In fact, a local court made the decision of prison time for that reseller in Dongguan in the Chinese province of Guangdong.

What we mean to say is that the prison time for that man did not in anyway represent or reflect the actual legal situation with VPN services elsewhere in the country of China.

Moreover, the person who got jail time used to make a tidy profit from offering VPN packages to users for money.

The point that readers need to note here is that no one using the VPN service got prison time.

Only the person who sold the VPN service had to serve prison time.

We can’t say anything about what it tells us for the future.

For the future should always be filled with hope instead of negativity and fear.

Only time can tell what will happen with VPN services that are operating in China ten years from now.

But it should not be hard for anyone to imagine the Chinese government making use of its Big Data meets Big Brother Chinese Social Credit System.

This Social Credit System is all but set to be introduced throughout the country by 2020.

The Chinese government will have all the opportunity in the world to punish its citizens who it catches making use of a VPN service.

The Social Credit System will make sure that the sure gets a lot of negative rating.

Of course, this Social Credit System should not cause concern for expats or any other type of visitors living in China.

Now, just like with all the countries, there are specific VPN services that work well in China.

All you have to do is to do a bit of Googling.

If you don’t want to do that and want to save time then click here to read our guide on Best VPNs in China.

Click here if you want to know more about how a VPN service works.

Egypt

The government in Egypt is not friendly to VPN services either.

About a year ago (in the year 2017) the government in Egypt started its campaign of blocking access to a ton of new websites.

When reporters did a count the last time they had the chance, the blocked list had more than a total of 400 entries in it.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the government in Egypt has fully realized that citizens of Egypt are clearly using VPN services in order to bypass all censorship measures against them.

This is the reason why the government in Egypt ramped up its efforts of blocking and started to cut off access to official VPN websites as well.

But the government in Egypt has not stopped there.

It has also started to block internet service providers who have used advanced techniques such as DPI in order to first monitor and then identify and then block all VPN traffic.

Our research shows that the security measures that the government in Egypt has taken against VPN services are pretty efficient.

And effective.

We know that because without the use of obfuscation technologies there is no way for users to access any type of VPN protocols.

And if the government has blocked access to all VPN protocols, then there is no way for the user to access VPN services unless the user employees stealth techniques.

People living in Egypt should make an effort to read more on how to access the free and open internet.

There are lots of guides on that in the market today.

All of them come for free.

More specifically, our research shows that VPN protocols such as SoftEther, AnyConnect, and WireGuard are working in Egypt at the time of writing this guide.

Of course, there is no way for us to guarantee that will remain the case for the future.

So do your research the moment you decide to use one of these VPN protocols to access different sites when in Egypt.

Users who have a bit more technical skills and knowledge should give consideration to Streisand.

What is it?

It is just a method for users to set up a kind of personal Virtual Private Network server.

The best part about this method is that it is very easy to implement for the right kind of user.

Our research shows that there are hardly any people, if any, who have gotten into trouble with the law for using a VPN service and trying to bypass internet restrictions in Egypt.

However, the military government has taken a hard-line against political dissidents and activists.

So, users who want to use a VPN service in Egypt should know that it does not come without its risks.

In other words, it is not risk-free.

Hence, users should exercise some care and caution.

As always, there are many VPN services that work very well with countries such as Egypt.

All you have to do is to go to Google and then search for such type of VPN services.

Russia

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Back in November of 2017, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin successfully signed a special bill which prohibited people from using proxy services along with VPN services.

We have to say that the bill did lack some sharp teeth.

However, it did not matter.

Why?

Because currently the government in Russia simply doesn’t have access to the technical expertise and capabilities required to enforce such a large-scale ban on various international commercial VPN service providers.

The Great Firewall of China is truly unique and Russia will have to spend a lot of resources on cyberinfrastructure if they want to come close to that type of solution.

But what the bill has managed to achieve (and according to our research, it is the only thing the bill has the capability to achieve) is to force domestic internet service providers from blocking all types of access to international official VPN service websites.

The government in Russia has now also made it a requirement on part of domestic VPN service providers to implement all the official blocklists on the type of content (mostly political) that the Russian government would like its people to never ever see.

The bill has forced the arm of many international commercial VPN service providers.

And thus they have announced to shut down their VPN servers which are located in Russia.

The Russian government also asked Apple to get rid of VPN applications from the company’s Russian version of the App Store.

Previously, Apple did the same for the Chinese government.

However, it hasn’t obliged to the Russian’s request at the time of writing this guide.

People who want to access VPN servers which are located way outside Russia are easily able to do so from inside the territory of Russia.

Moreover, we have not learned of any real risk of using a VPN service from the perspective of the law in the country or otherwise.

Users who want to learn more about which VPN services are the best for countries such as Russia should go ahead and do a quick Google search before coming to an informed choice.

Vietnam

The government in Vietnam is just like the government in Russia and China in the sense that it too likes to access a genuinely wide range of categories of internet connect.

More specifically, the government in Vietnam does not want its people to have access to sites such as Facebook, BBC, and Human Rights Watch.

Back in 2012, the OpenNet Initiative officially published a report which listed the findings of the organization on the websites that the government in Vietnam had conveniently blocked.

The project also mentioned that the government in Vietnam had also blocked a ton of websites in the Vietnamese language.

It also found that the government had blocked many VPN services, proxy websites along with other kinds of internet circumvention technologies and tools.

One of its reports said that in the category of Internet tools, Viettel and FPT Telecom blocked sites like Facebook or https://facebook.com.

Moreover, it said, both internet service providers mentioned above also made sure to target other circumvention websites that allow users free access to the internet for further filtering.

However, these internet service providers differed in the actual list of websites that they had already blocked.

To take an instance, the Viettel internet service providers blocked sites such as,

On the other hand, the internet service provider by the name of FPT only filtered out http;//inetprivacy.com.

The Vietnamese government has also formed a 10,000 personal strong unit for military cyber warfare.

The government has done that in order to make sure that the Vietnamese population did not view any wrong content on the internet whether intentionally or unintentionally.

But the government in Vietnam is not stopping there.

It has actually stepped up its game in its efforts to block and censor open access to various types of content.

Our research shows that it is quite reasonable for users to just assume that the government in Vietnam has blocked the majority of VPN service providers and their official websites available in the market today.

We have also come to know that the blocks which the government in Vietnam has put in place aren’t exactly state of the art.

In other words, they are not sophisticated.

We feel that veteran VPN users have all the opportunity in the world to overcome these blocks easily without the need of signing up for VPN service that offers features such as obfuscation technology.

Of course, we’re assuming here that the user is able to sign up for a VPN service and then download the VPN service’s official software application.

We also advise visitors to Vietnam to do all of the above before they actually enter Vietnam and not afterward.

We have discussed many tactics with which people who are residents of Vietnam can defeat censorship in our guide here.

Without wishing to sound repetitive, we would like to tell readers that they should search the internet for the best VPNs in Vietnam before committing to a single VPN service that comes at the top of search results.

Countries that may cause trouble for VPN users.

Turkey

Turkey is an interesting case.

Why do we say that?

We say that because Turkey has shown proclivity towards blocking websites that have offended the country and its government.

Some would say there is nothing wrong with that.

We’re not saying there is anything wrong with that.

Here at Security Gladiators, we want to help people who have unnecessarily suffered because of blocks that are not even meant for them.

The government in Turkey also has a strong record of blocking content that is politically sensitive.

In Turkey, internet service providers have used techniques such as DNS poisoning for the purposes of blocking its citizens from accessing content on the popular streaming site YouTube when the government banned it back in 2014.

The people of Turkey have spoken in one sense or another and have endorsed another Erdogan presidency.

That has also expanded his executive powers.

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So it is quite understandable that in order to make Turkey more stable, Erdogan would want to tighten his government’s grip over access to the internet.

If Turkey wants to ensure that it is able to block objectionable content then it will have to include strong censorship measures with one aim:

Block citizens of turkey from accessing VPN services in order to access the “free” and “open” internet.

We have seen many guides that talk in detail about which VPN services are the best to use in Turkey.

If you want to read more about them then just google the term “best VPN for Turkey”.

And you should get your answer.

Conclusion

Are VPN services really legal?

One can legally use a VPN service almost everywhere else apart from North Korea and war zones.

However, that does mean there are a few places where it is illegal to use a VPN service.

Some places have the legality of using a VPN service in a bit of a grey area to confuse people.

What we have found out is that, governments have a hard time enforcing their laws when it comes to blocking internet access.

Some governments have taken the easy route of blocking official VPN websites instead of VPN servers.

This saves them the trouble of employing some of the most expensive and sophisticated censorship tools.

The only two countries that have managed to come up with a comprehensive infrastructure to block VPN access in the region are Egypt and China.

And good on them.

They have worked tremendously hard to restrict the access of VPN services for their citizens so that they are unable to evade censorship.

The End All VPN Service Is

IPvanish.

Read our review here to find out why.

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Zohair

Zohair

Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
Zohair

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • Johnny 1 month ago

    I’ve been working in Egypt for over 4months. I’ve tried a couple of different providers, but ended up using Nordvpn. It has the obfuscation technology and seems to be holding back quite firmly. Quite expensive I’d say, but there’s coupons out there for cheaper subscriptions, the one I used was get1year, if still valid.

    • Thanks for the comment Johnny.
      We’re glad that NordVPN is working out for you.
      Have you tried subscribing to longer NordVPN subscription packages?
      They do offer big discounts on those.

  • Is it Legal To Use a VPN Service? (Depends on Where You Live)

    by Zohair time to read: 31 min
    2