It is a question that might seem so simple that you felt almost silly to ask. And yet the thought might have already crossed your mind:
Always felt a little cautious wanting to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)? You probably are not the only one. Depending on which country you are from, the legality of using VPNs can differ.
Certain countries like China, Russia or Iran choose to make VPNs illegal because they wish to closely monitor their citizens’ Internet usage. The ban on VPNs, coupled with recurring news headlines of data privacy battles often make it a grey area for the common Internet user on whether it is actually legal.
Unless you are living in a country which bans VPNs outright, it is still legal to use a VPN. It is when many users tend to associate VPNs with conducting some form of unlawful online activities that they might correlate VPNs and illegal misconducts.
Using a VPN on its own is not against the law, and in fact VPNs were made first and foremost with the premise of Internet security and privacy in mind.
(Read also: 13 Cool Uses You Didn’t Know For a VPN)
When USA’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed net neutrality rules in the USA, the number of VPN subscribers looking to take back their freedom of their Internet and ISP throttling skyrocketed in numbers.
VPNs are used all the time, whether privately or commercially. So if you were flagged to be on some kind of ‘watchlist’ by your ISP, technically so would a million other people.
VPNs are not reserved just for tech companies. Tons of people are using them, and many use them for working remotely. It is common for companies to have corporate VPNs in place for staff working from remote offices. Pretty much anyone who needs to work from their homes, or even any mid to large sized companies as long as they need access to the main network when they are outside the building.
VPNs have been installed and used by business travellers and remote workers for decades. Site-to-site VPNs are standard practice for linking remote offices without costly infrastructure, or as a backup.
In short, there will be thousands and thousands of people such as yourself who are using VPNs. And as such there will be tons of encrypted VPN traffic on the Internet. If you are in a country where using VPNs are not a crime, it is highly unlikely for your ISP to flag you as anything out of the ordinary.
Happy surfing, Bolehians!