Posted by Gareth Icke - memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 11 August 2023

VPN laws in the UK explained: Are VPNs legal in the UK?

On the one hand, VPNs are popular as a cybersecurity tool for businesses and individuals. On the other hand, they have a reputation for being associated with illegal activities, such as piracy. 

Hence, it is perfectly normal to think twice before using VPN. So, if you are in the UK and wondering where this country stands on VPN legality, you have come to the right place. Continue reading to clear your doubts. 

So, What Is VPN?

Although people use VPNs for illegal activities, the technology in itself isn’t illegal. VPNs are pieces of software offering greater levels of online security and privacy than any other tool. Plus, they are simple to set up and user-friendly. You don’t need to be a tech genius to use VPN. 

VPN stands for virtual private network, and it is software that creates an encrypted tunnel through which your Internet traffic and data pass between your device and a remote server. Also, the software disguises your IP address and practically makes you anonymous while browsing the Internet. 

Thanks to this, they make it harder for snoopers and hackers to track your online activity. You can be assured knowing your personal data is safe. 

Since remote working and concerns around personal data protection have increased manifold, VPNs have become more common than ever. Most users connecting to public Wi-Fi networks use VPN to secure their browsing. 

What’s more, VPNs let users access geo-restricted content and even workaround censorship. 

But Is VPN Legal In The Uk?

Yes, VPNs are legal in the UK, as there’s no specific legislation prohibiting the use of VPNs in the country. 

Owing to the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 and other intrusive surveillance laws introduced in the UK, citizens are facing a dramatically challenging atmosphere of safeguarding their privacy and security online. You can reduce the government’s access to your personal information by cloaking your online activity from government agencies and your ISP. 

So, you can use VPN without worrying about enhancing your online privacy and security. You can also use the technology to bypass geographical restrictions set forth by torrenting and streaming services. 

For example, you can use VPNs to bypass geo-restrictions put in place by services like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix, etc. These streaming services block some content because of copyright issues and rules of specific countries. Hence, if you have travelled to the UK from the USA, you won’t be able to access the content library of your home country without VPN. Similarly, Britishers travelling to the USA cannot access the UK content library without VPN on American soil. 

VPNs effectively bluff the streaming service or website into thinking the request originates from a specific location. Hence, geo-restrictions are overcome. 

Where are VPNs illegal?

Although VPNs are legal in the UK, the same is not true for all countries worldwide. In some countries, the rules regarding VPNs are much stricter, and you must be aware of these rules if you plan to visit those countries on holiday or for work purposes. 

The countries where it is illegal to use VPN are Russia, Iraq, China and Belarus. In India, you can use VPN, but it comes with limitations. India requires VPN providers to log user data, meaning law enforcement can potentially access user records under suspicion of illegal activity. 

Top VPN for users in the UK

  • Surfshark 

Surfshark is one of the most budget-friendly VPNs with no speed, bandwidth or device limits. The service blocks malware, ads and trackers. Split tunnelling lets users personalise their VPN connection, and browsing anonymously is guaranteed. Download the app to try the risk-free 30-day VPN trial

  • ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers excellent features and value. With servers in more than 100 countries, users get blazing connection speeds. The VPN offers reliable access to multiple streaming services. 

  • CyberGhost 

CyberGhost VPN offers optimised servers for your online needs. It automatically connects with the fastest server to have an enhanced browsing or streaming experience. The VPN hides online activities and secures data. It prevents speed throttling from ISPs. 

Other noteworthy VPNs in the UK are NordVPN, IPVanish, Private Internet Access and PrivateVPN. 

Which Activities Are Considered Illegal Even If You Use VPN?

It is important to note that VPNs are not the be-all-end-all solution to do whatever you want on the Internet. If you are involved in an illegal activity, the activity won’t become legal because you are using VPN. 

Several activities done using VPN are considered illegal, such as:

  • Cyberbullying or stalking – Stalking or cyberbullying is an illegal activity. If you are engaging in such activities and in case the VPN keeps logs, you will be in trouble with law enforcement. 
  • Pirate copyrighted content – Pirating copyrighted content is illegal. Although copyright laws are rarely enforced against a single individual, the act is illegal. You may face repercussions if it gets out. 
  • Using the dark web marketplace – If you are using the dark web marketplace to buy and sell forbidden items and services, it is illegal. 

Simply put, just because VPN is legal in the UK or any other country in the world, it doesn’t mean your activities automatically become legal as well. If you are engaged in illegal activities, it will remain illegal whether you use VPN or not. 

Can You Stream Content Legally Using VPN?

There are no explicitly mentioned UK laws that prohibit users from using VPN when streaming content on Netflix or other platforms. As mentioned earlier, VPNs help bypass geo-restrictions implemented by streaming services and unblock a wide range of content libraries worldwide. 

But in doing so, VPNs are infringing the terms and conditions of the streaming service that you agreed to when signing up. Hence, nobody can recommend with certainty that you use VPN to stream geo-blocked content. If you get caught by the streaming service, your account might get banned. 


VPNs are legal in the UK, but if you are caught committing illegal activities using VPN, you will land in trouble.

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