Last Updated: June 16, 2023
Every internet user should use a VPN nowadays since this nifty software service opens the internet everywhere and provides top-notch online security and anonymity.
Thankfully, Brits can freely and legally use VPNs in the UK, as no laws prohibit their use. After all, there are very real and legitimate situations that need them.
So if you want to protect yourself from cyber attacks or keep your data private while using the internet, keep reading to learn why VPNs are a must-have today.
Are VPNs Legal in the UK?
As of 2023, there aren’t any laws that prohibit people in the UK from using a VPN service. However, UK ISPs and VPNs can still be obligated to provide information to the government when requested, so you should use an outside service that doesn’t keep logs.
The common misconception that they must be illegal because they hide your identity stems from cybercriminals utilising VPN services to carry out their attacks. However, as you’ll see below, there are many legitimate uses for a virtual private network.
Note that this is not the case for everyone in the world, as there are countries, such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iraq, where VPN use is currently illegal. Their totalitarian governments tend to keep a closer eye on their citizens’ internet habits.
When Should You Use a VPN in the UK?
Why do you need a VPN, you might ask. Even if you have nothing to hide, boosting your privacy is crucial in several distinct scenarios, including but not limited to:
- Protecting yourself when using public networks—public networks are the hunting grounds of hackers, and you need a VPN to become invisible there;
- Avoiding credit card attacks—anything from targeted pricing to bait-and-switch attacks that lead to identity and financial theft can be prevented with a VPN;
- Unlocking geo-blocked content—if you are a huge fan of a show, film, or any other type of content unavailable in the UK, a good VPN will give you access;
- Preventing DDoS attacks—every gamer will have fallen victim to a DDoS attack at least once in their life, something that VPNs can help you avoid;
- Accessing your home content—if you are travelling but still want to check out your home feeds, a VPN will virtually transport you back there;
- Hide your internet footprints—ISPs, marketers, and government agencies track what you do online, but a VPN keeps your data away from them.
In essence, VPN services encrypt your data and reroute your connection through a remote server before sending it to the final destination. However, in addition to hiding your IP, thus your location and identity, premium services also protect you against malware.
Is It Illegal to Use a VPN for Netflix?
Put simply, Netflix does not want you to access content available in non-UK libraries due to various licensing agreements and restrictions. To prevent you from doing that, the platform implements various VPN detection systems that can verify your IP address and restrict (or even suspend) your account if and when they detect VPN usage.
That said, using a VPN to access Netflix content unavailable to UK citizens is not illegal since you’ll only be violating the platform’s terms of service. That is why UK users who enjoy watching geo-locked shows use a quality VPN service often. If caught, they can just create a new unrestricted account and keep doing the same.
After all, you are not pirating Netflix’s content but accessing it via a paid subscription. Still, should you choose to use a VPN for Netflix in the UK, you have to be aware of the risks and the possibility of facing Netflix’s backlash. Therefore, review and memorise the platform’s ToS and comply with them as much as possible.
As you can see, there are numerous benefits of using a VPN service any time you go online, be it to socialise, play, work, shop, read, watch, listen, or simply surf aimlessly. Fortunately, the UK does not employ any laws against VPN usage, and you can freely purchase any that you like and use it daily. However, for optimal protection, you should use a non-UK one.
While the government can ask for your personal data from your local ISP and/or VPN provider if they are UK-based, they cannot do that if you use a no-logs service outside the United Kingdom, such as NordVPN and CyberGhost.
It’s super easy! All you need to do is connect to your VPN service, choose a US-based server, and press connect. Then, the internet will recognise you as a US citizen.