Are VPNs legal in the US? This is a question many Americans seem to ask. While VPNs are, in general, legal to use, many people worry about their legality within their country of residents. Read on to find out if VPNs are legal in the US.
Are VPNs Legal in the US?
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is intended is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice on any subject matter. You should not rely or act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.
Are VPNs Legal in the US?
Yes, VPNs are legal in the US. There are no laws or regulations prohibiting their use on American soil.
Seeing as VPNs managed to garner a bit of a shady reputation in the past, I understand why people constantly doubt their legality. However, VPNs are primarily cybersecurity tools and as such are not illegal to use.
It is important to note, however, that while VPNs are in and of themselves legal you still need to make sure you’re using the VPN properly. As long as you’re using it to maintain your privacy and security and to stream legal content off the internet, you’re fine. Do not use a VPN for illegal activities.
What is a VPN?
Let me explain exactly what a VPN is/does to further illustrate my point.
As I mentioned above, a VPN is primarily a cybersecurity tool. VPNs have 2 basic functionalities:
- Encrypting your data.
- Re-routing your traffic through their own secure servers.
Now, an added bonus of a VPN is its ability to spoof your IP. Since a VPN re-routes all of your traffic, our public IP address ends up changing to reflect the location of the server you connected to. Websites and apps use IP bans, usually, to restrict access to their services based on your location. In other words, VPNs give you the ability to bypass geo-restrictions based on the servers you choose to connect to.
So, while VPNs do give you access to blocked sites, that is not their primary function. There is nothing in a VPN’s functionality that is, by nature, illegal. That being said, some people have used VPNs for illegal reasons, which does put them at risk of being caught out, fined, or even jailed.
I would like to point out that The VPN Guru does not, in any way, condone the use of VPNs for nefarious and illegal activities.
What is a VPN Used for in the US?
There are many reasons why someone would use a VPN in the US, but the main reasons are:
- Torrent Anonymously. VPNs let you use P2P file-sharing networks without the risk of showing your real IP address to the other users since your real IP address changes based on the server you use.
- Protect your data at all times. Since VPNs constantly encrypt your data while active, they work as great tools to keep data theft at bay. In other words, your data will remain secure even if the attacker employed malicious tactics to try and get at your information.
- Stop third-parties from monitoring your connection. A VPN tunnels your traffic when it re-routes it. This makes it almost impossible for a third-party to monitor what you’re doing online, even if it’s your ISP. This is especially handy for privacy-oriented Americans since the USA is part of the Five Eyes organization.
- Mask your IP address. Americans can use a VPN to browse the web anonymously without anyone finding out their real geo-location.
- Gain access to geo-restricted content. Many VPN users in the US enjoy benefiting from a VPN’s ability to spoof their IP. This way, they can access websites and apps that are geo-blocked in America.
- Bypass Blackouts: Americans know that watching a Sports game, whether it be football, basketball, or baseball, from a different state is almost impossible. With a VPN, Americans can bypass those blackouts and access all of the Sports they want.
Best VPN for the USA
Our VPN expert, Charles, has already written a detailed review of the best VPNS to use in the US. In his review, he ranked ExpressVPN as his top US choice. Here’s why:
ExpressVPN offers 2000+ servers in over 94 countries, military-grade encryptions, the latest VPN protocols, a 5-star customer support team, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. In other words, you can test out the service for 30 days before you make a genuine commitment to it.
If you don’t feel like ExpressVPN is your cup-of-tea, you can try these VPN providers instead:
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Are VPNs Legal in the US – Final Thoughts
Remember, VPNs are completely legal in the US as long as they’re used for their security, privacy, and (legal) streaming capabilities. Using a VPN for illegal acts online does mean that you might face serious repercussions from the American government. That being said, as long as you’re not abusing your VPN subscription, you can rest assured that you’re completely within your rights to use these tools.