Earlier this year, Venezuela’s largest Internet service provider attempted to block the use of Tor and VPN services, presumably on government orders. In 2016, the UAE revised its laws, making the use of a VPN service to “commit a crime or prevent its discovery” punishable by temporary imprisonment and a fine of up to 2 million dirham (roughly $540,000). While there are permissible uses for VPNs, UAE has also placed an outright ban on VoIP calls and numerous websites, including some French TV channels and Netflix. It is illegal to use a VPN to access any of these sites or to place a banned call.
Companies can apply for a permit to use a government-approved VPN. If a company is found breaking the law, it faces a 1,000 rial fine. Before you travel abroad, always make sure you check to see whether or not VPNs are legal in the country you’re visiting. If you’re travelling to a country where VPNs are illegal or restricted, you’ll need to disable any VPNs on your devices. In some countries, particularly where the free movement of ideas is restricted, anonymous, untrackable internet usage can pose a problem for authorities.
This is why some governments impose a ban or strict controls over VPN usage. VPNs use encryption to make your connection to the internet private. By using a VPN, you can make yourself anonymous online and mask your browsing activity. The dark web is an under-the-radar area of the internet, where a great deal of illegal activity occurs, such as buying or selling drugs, weapons and other illicit materials, or accessing illegal pornography. While there are plenty of perfectly legal reasons you might want this degree of privacy, VPNs understandably appeal to those looking to hide less savoury activities, including illegal downloads and use of the darknet.
In response to the recently implemented tax on social media, the use of VPN services by Ugandans soared. The Ugandan government responded by demanding that local Internet service providers block VPN services. There currently is no legislation against VPNs in Uganda, but this is an evolving situation.
If there is a commonality between all the countries on this list, it is that their governments want to control the information their citizens have access to. These governments are what is a vpn afraid that if they had to compete in the marketplace of ideas, they would lose. Instead, they have resorted to the 21st century equivalent of shutting down newspapers and burning books.
In 2010, Oman passed a law that prohibited individuals from using VPN services. Anyone caught violating this law is subject to a 500 rial fine (roughly $1,300).