What’s the Status of Virtual Private Networks in the United Kingdom?
If you’re located in the United Kingdom, you’re probably well aware of the rules that have been put in place for monitoring internet usage.
In 2016, the Investigatory Powers Act, sometimes referred to as the Snoopers’ Charter, was passed, which gives law enforcement and intelligence agencies unprecedented access to your personal information, as well as your online activity.
While the act was passed to thwart cybercriminals, it also means that anyone using the internet in the U.K. has an excellent reason to protect themselves and make sure that their information is kept secure and confidential.
The best way to do this is to use a VPN service to encrypt the information being sent and received from your devices. However, since VPNs are incredibly effective at evading surveillance agencies and hiding your online activity, many people are left wondering if they are legal to be using.
In the following article, we’re going to explain why you should be using a VPN in the U.K., as well as explaining the legal status of VPNs within the country.
Why Should You Be Using a VPN in the U.K.?
Whenever you use an ISP from within the United Kingdom, whether it’s a private or public network, the ISP has a legal obligation to track and log every website that you visit.
This information must be kept for at least one full year, during which, U.K. authorities have the ability to request access to these logs, without needing to obtain a warrant.
In other words, this means that authorities can inspect and monitor your online activity whenever they wish to do so.
U.K. authorities also have the legal ability to hack into smartphones, tablets, and computers as they deem fit. And, at the same time, ISPs are required to assist them by helping them capture and decrypt the data found on these devices.
That being said, using a VPN is the easiest and safest way to protect yourself from unwarranted access by authorities in the U.K., or anywhere else in the world for that fact.
A VPN works by encrypting any and all traffic being sent or received by your devices. This makes it appear that your internet traffic is originating from the VPN’s server location, as opposed to your device’s actual IP address.
In other words, your activity is kept private and leaves your ISP, as well as law enforcement agencies in the dark and unable to view your internet usage.
All of these things could be implemented with Avast VPN. Read a review of it to find out how good is it: https://vpnpro.com/vpn-reviews/avast-secureline-vpn-review/
The Legal Status of VPNs in the U.K.
While there are some countries, such as China, Russia, North Korea, and Iraq, that have banned the use of VPNs, the short and simple answer is that yes, it’s completely legal to use a VPN from within the United Kingdom.
In fact, there are currently no U.K. laws, which forbid internet users from using VPN software whatsoever. So, if you’ve been using a VPN, you can take solace in the fact that you’re entirely within your legal rights to be protecting your online data.
However, it’s important to be careful when choosing a VPN service to use. There are hundreds of VPN services to choose from, and if you choose one that operates from within the U.K, they are still legally obligated to provide information to authorities if ever asked to do so.
Therefore, to make sure that you’re properly protected and kept anonymous while using the internet from within the U.K., be sure to choose a VPN service that operates from outside of the country.
Although they are based outside of the U.K., most VPN providers still offer plenty of servers to choose from that are located within U.K. borders.
This means that you can still use a U.K. IP address, however, it will be out of the jurisdiction of U.K. law enforcement agencies. In the end, the important thing is to select a VPN provider that is based outside of the U.K. to keep yourself safe and secure while using a U.K. internet service provider.
Accessing Geo-Restricted Content
Another reason many people use a VPN from within the U.K. is to access geo-restricted services such as Netflix or specific YouTube content that may not be available within the country.
This is possible because a VPN makes your IP address appear to be coming from the server’s location, as opposed to your actual location. With that said, a VPN user can select a connection routed through a server located in the United States, which will allow their computer or device to access to website or service.
It’s important to note that while using a VPN maybe not be illegal in the U.K., using a VPN to access this type of geo-restricted content does contravene against Netflix and YouTube’s user policies, making it somewhat of a grey area of the law.