Is VPN Illegal in China? How About Canada, UAE, Iran or UK?

As the majority of us are aware, China censors the internet greatly and restricts access to almost everything that the rest of the world can access, even Google. The restrictions apply to Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media and search engines. Because of this, they actually have some of the best VPN services in China and they are very popular.

internet privacy through VPN
internet privacy through VPN

Now, although the Chinese people love using VPN’s, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re allowed to. Actually, as of 31st March 2018, China prohibited VPN’s. Despite this, VPN providers still claim that they can be used within China. With a campaign to crack down on VPN’s throughout 2017, they even removed off VPN apps by Apple, to prevent users downloading apps.

The well-established VPN services, such as ExpressVPN, Vypr VPN, and Astrill are VPN’s that will work in China. It seems that the ban on VPN’s was mainly a scaremongering tactic, to stop users trying to use them in the first place.

VPN in Canada?

A lot of Canadian’s like to use VPN services to gain access to American Netflix shows that are not available across the border. Since 2011, Google searches on ‘How to get American Netflix in Canada’ have increased tenfold.

The funny thing is with VPN’s in Canada, is that they are legal, however using them to gain access to American Netflix shows is a violation of their terms and conditions. Getting caught will mean that they simply terminate your account, and you won’t have access to Netflix anymore.

So, it is not criminal, but your uses of VPN services could still cause repercussions.


United Arab Emirates(UAE), recently, Skype was banned in UAE, causing some questions surrounding VPN’s and their legality. Kellie Blyth, a senior associate at Clyde & Co, has cleared some things up. Blyth says that individual people, rather than corporate organisations, will not go to prison or pay a fine, only if you don’t use VPN’s to commit a crime. That is still an offence.

More officially, the Telecommunications and Regulatory Authority issued a statement clearing up that companies, banks and institutions may use VPNs, and that the law is only broken when internet protocols are manipulated for the purpose of committing a crime.

Which VPNs work in UAE? Suppliers such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN and PrivateVPN all function well as of 2018.

VPN in Iran?

In the earlier years of the 21st century, Iran faced a great increase in internet usage. As of 2013, Iran had over 46 million users. In 2012, Iran began to crack down, 27% of internet sites were blocked at once. By 2013, 50% of the very popular sites worldwide were also blocked, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Like China, this makes VPN usage very popular. A part of this censorship has included VPNs, and they are banned in Iran, along with HTTPS and any externally developed software.

VPN in the UK?

Since the Investigatory Powers Act in 2016, The British intelligence services have a lot of access to your information if you are using the internet in the UK. This gives anyone using the internet in the UK a valid reason to try to protect themselves through a VPN.

Luckily, VPNs are legal in the UK, but remember to choose a VPN service based outside of the UK. If they are based in the UK, then they are still bound by the Investigatory Powers Act and would have to provide information to people in power if asked.

How Good are VPN Services? Are They Worth it, and How Necessary are They?

The internet is supposed to be an open source for anyone to access information freely from any source; the ‘World Wide Web’. Sites that are blocked or restricted because of the country you are in kind of defeats the object. That’s why VPN services are attractive in the first place. But, are they really any good, worth it or necessary at all?

internet privacy and VPN services
internet privacy and VPN services

The benefits of VPN services include access to sites that your ISP may have been blocked on, privacy while browsing, and running BitTorrent without exposing your identity.

That’s not all they’re for though, VPNs really are worth it for whistle blowers who want to leak public interest information without being traced, those people would probably say that having a VPN is important. Can my employer see? I hear you ask. Well, yes, they can see if you are using a VPN, but they can’t see what you’re doing with it, so tread carefully.

As of 2017, 25% of all internet users worldwide use VPN services. This is a huge figure, showing that VPNs benefits really are worth it in a lot of users eyes. One of the biggest drivers of VPN usage is for streaming. 29% of all VPN users access Netflix in any given month.

If the main question here is whether VPNs are necessary, and the only thing you would use it for is streaming, then you could say it’s not really necessary, and you just have to deal with the shows and movies that Netflix allow your country to use.

The drawbacks? Well, the chances are, the country of origin of your VPN server will not be totally private. say that if you connect to a VPN server that is in any of the following countries, then their government will be able to spy on both their own citizens and each other’s citizens, meaning they will be able to gain information from VPN servers:

The Five Eyes:
1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Canada

The Nine Eyes
1. France
2. Norway
3. Denmark
4. The Netherlands

The Fourteen Eyes
1. Belgium
2. Italy
3. Germany
4. Spain
5. Sweden

If you’re using a VPN for privacy, then a service from any of the above countries means that VPN is probably a bad idea.

If you use public WiFi, then your connection is likely not secured. If you are checking your emails, using Social Media, accessing your banking information, or any other personal details using public WiFi, then this can all be accessed by a third party. Surprisingly, 40% of people are not concerned about this, and less than half of those concerned actually do anything about it.

Ultimately, using a VPN can protect you whilst you’re connected to public WiFi. Encrypting your personal information from strangers’ access using a VPN is definitely worth it to keep your data safe from hackers.