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Are VPNs Always Legal? All Questions Answered

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) offers many advantages to its users. It encrypts connection to prevent hackers or your ISP from spying on your activity. A VPN also allows you to bypass geo-restrictions by connecting to servers in different countries around the world. Finally, it is the best way to circumvent government censorship and banned websites.

So, a question may arise whether VPNs are legal. For the most part, the answer is yes. But depending on your location, the laws might get a little more complicated.

Are VPNs legal?

In most countries, VPNs are legal. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed complete privacy and anonymity even in permitted jurisdictions. The US is a great example. Here, VPNs are illegal. However, there are some significant factors to consider.

  •         VPNs are legal, but anything that would be illegal without a VPN is still illegal. The best example is torrenting. Even if you encrypt your connection, your ISP could tell if you’re torrenting due to your bandwidth traffic patterns.
  •         VPNs may violate terms of service agreements. One of the biggest advantages of VPNs is the possibility to access geo-restricted content. However, some platforms, particularly Netflix, consider using a VPN a breach of their service agreement. However, you likely won’t be banned from the site; they’ll just block your connection until you turn the VPN off.
  •         Law Enforcement May Demand Information. If law enforcement suspects that you are up to illegal activity or your computer may contain vital evidence, they can demand information on your browsing history and other internet habits. Do note that many VPN service providers claim to keep “no logs” or records of their users’ history. However, there has been a general precedent when certain VPNs cooperated with authorities when requested. Thus, make sure your VPN provider follows a no-logs policy.

 

Where are VPNs illegal?

It probably comes as no surprise that many countries that enforce the strongest levels of internet censorship also have laws against using a VPN or they may be in some sort of legal grey zone. In countries like China, Russia, Iraq, Turkey, and the UAE among many others, it is illegal to use a VPN. Each country has a different policy. Some may limit a VPN’s local capabilities to connect to a remote server while others may even have legal punishments defined. Before you visit these countries, be sure you check the current legal status of VPNs there.

What about getting caught?

This also varies from country to country. For example, VPN users who torrent in the US will usually receive a warning letter from their ISP. After that, they may throttle down speeds or ban you from their service. Only in very rare cases, people do face legal action.

Currently, in Canada, a landmark case is taking place with Voltage Pictures suing over 50,000 John Does in a reverse-class action suit for copyright infringement. The outcome of this case will determine torrenting prosecution around the world and will represent the “tip of the iceberg” if the prosecution wins. However, it’s important to note that most of the people in the suit were not using VPNs. They were openly torrenting making it easy to trace their IP address and identities.

Overall, even in countries where VPNs are illegal, the chances of actually getting caught and prosecuted are extremely low. It’s simply not a priority for most countries. Furthermore, just by using a VPN, it makes it significantly more difficult to track specific individuals. The bottom line is that if you are using a VPN for legal activities, you have nothing to worry about.

Are VPNs legal for Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, etc.?

It’s easy to notice the significant difference in Netflix content available in each country. For example, in the US, you have access to more than 5,000 titles whereas in Myanmar the number is just around 700. The reason for this is that the countries have to sign copyright agreements so they have access to each other’s copyrighted material. If they don’t, then the number of streaming options you have will be extremely limited.

To work around this, you can use a VPN to access Netflix servers in the US, Europe, or anywhere you might be looking for region-specific content. Once again, it’s not illegal, but it does violate Netflix’s TOS. However, if you use a quality VPN, you won’t run into trouble. A good VPN should feature dedicated Netflix US-based servers so you can stream with ease.

The same goes for all the other streaming platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. It’s not illegal, particularly if you have a paid, active account, but you may be violating the TOS agreement if you use a VPN.

VPNs: the best way to access the internet

VPNs are an essential tool for safe internet access. They protect you from hackers and snooping parties like your ISP or government. Not only that, they allow you to bypass geo-blocks so you can always stream your favorite content. Finally, they give you the most important thing—privacy in the online world. So if you want to browse safely and if you stick to legal activities, then using a VPN is legal.

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Overcome the fears of legal infringement in viewing streaming apps by using VPN

The popularity of video streaming apps is spreading like wildfire as the audience is seeking more options in viewing television programs and chosen movies and soaps just in the way they want. Viewers are keen to enjoy live events of sports, music and other entertainment on all kinds of devices including mobile phones even when they are on the go and the streaming apps provide the right type of entertainment that makes them happy. However, viewers often face copyright and related legal problems that surround the streaming of videos that many of the streaming companies curate from various websites on the internet.  You can know about several instances when viewers face a penalty for copyright infringement as such incidents are reported in the news and articles that appear on Bestdroidplayer, a blog that has become the face of the streaming industry.

Evading legal hassles

Many streaming services attract viewers by allowing them to view some premium live events free that would have otherwise cost them good money as they had to subscribe to the services. In simple words, some streaming services cut corners and circumvent the law to attract viewers and to take advantage of it viewers must ensure that they avoid all kinds of surveillance when viewing such programs. Therefore, maintaining complete privacy in viewing streaming services becomes a necessity so that viewers can avoid the legal hassles that arise from it. This has led to the growing demand for VPN services, many of which are free.

VPN offers complete privacy in viewing

VPN helps viewers to access the internet without leaving any trace of their online activities which are usually under close monitoring when using Wi-Fi and open networks. By using VPN, you can access any website or view any video streaming service including those that face restrictions in some countries and even access live streaming of major sporting events like NFL for free. No one can ever detect your online presence, and you are at liberty to access the internet in the way you want. In the process, viewers can avoid costly subscriptions, and the money-saving aspect adds to the enjoyment of viewing selected programs without any fear of trespassing the law. However, you may have to sacrifice speed when using VPN as it is not possible to get the best of everything.

VPN for network

For multiple users, you can use VPN across a network by choosing the best free VPN for Routers that create a firewall around the network and in addition to ensuring privacy in viewing it provides an additional layer of security. All incoming traffic passes through the firewall and undergoes scrutiny that protects the network from hacking or malware.  By configuring the router, it becomes easy to monitor the traffic that flows to and from the network.

All devices connected to the network whether wired or wireless that use VPN installed on the router enjoy the protection of VPN.  Since VPN provides an encrypted tunnel of communication, viewers can enjoy complete privacy as they remain invisible to the monitoring systems that track online activities.

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Is It Against the Law to Stream Unauthorized Content on a Jailbroken Firestick?

Amazon FireStick is a popular streaming device that allows you to easily convert your TV with HDMI compatibility into a smart TV. FireStick allows you to stream content from an array of online entertainment services like Amazon Prime Videos, Netflix, Hotstar, Hulu, and many TV Networks. Here’s the rub. Owning an Amazon FireStick only grants you access to content offered by Amazon.

Owners have learned, however, how to “jailbreak” their own FireStick to gain access to programming not offered by Amazon.. If you’ve been wondering if it’s illegal to jailbreak an Amazon FireStick, let’s clear that up immediately.  The answer is a resounding NO! It is absolutely legal to “hack” your own FireStick simply because the FireStick is YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY. In fact, when people refer to an Amazon Fire TV Stick as “jailbroken,” it simply means that they have installed media server software (typically KODI) to expand their viewing choices. What makes this question tricky is that you can enjoy your Fire Stick in whatever way you choose–until you infringe on the rights of another or you violate a national statute such as viewing pirated content.

Sometimes, it can be tough to know what’s been pirated, however, when searching for content., and that’s where FireStick users can get themselves into legal trouble.  In order to protect themselves, many users create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to circumvent the possibility that they are “spied” upon while viewing. A VPN offers many advantages to its users by encrypting connection to prevent hackers or their ISP from spying on their on-line activity. It is also the best way to circumvent government censorship and banned websites. So, a question may arise whether VPNs are legal. For the most part, the answer is yes. But depending on your location, the laws might get a little more complicated.

VPN helps viewers to access the internet without leaving any trace of their online activities which are usually under close monitoring when using Wi-Fi and open networks. By using a VPN, you can access any website or video streaming service such as major sporting events like the NFL for free. No one can ever detect your online presence, and you are at liberty to access the internet in the way you want. In the process, viewers can avoid subscription costs, and the money-saving aspect adds to the enjoyment of viewing selected programs without any fear of trespassing the law. However, you may have to sacrifice speed when using VPN as it is not possible to get the best of everything.

VPNs are an essential tool for safe internet access. They protect you from hackers and snooping parties like your ISP or government. Not only that, they allow you to bypass geo-blocks so you can always stream your favorite content. Finally, they give you the most important thing—privacy in the online world. So if you want to browse safely and if you stick to legal activities, then using your jailbroken FireStick is guilt free fun!

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Information Security of Law Firms

According to numerous researches, law firms are practically not protected from theft and loss of confidential data. That is why the issues of cybersecurity in the legal sphere, as well as the interaction of lawyers with companies specializing in the collection of digital evidence, the prevention, and investigation of computer crimes using high technologies,  are very relevant in the modern world. If you want to take care of your safety and anonymity on the Internet, then Bestvpnrating knows how to help you.

Information Security of Law FirmsDigital negligence is a common problem for lawyers

Previously, in such a conservative profession as a lawyer, intellectual leadership was enough for success, now it is “vital” to use high technologies in practice. In the age of information technologies, it is vital to take care of information security, both with own infrastructure in order to protect advocate secrecy and its organizational support from principals.

How to protect your PC from external threats?

Every lawyer should know that due to the specifics of his work, he needs to protect his PC from the intruders from outside. Therefore, it is recommended to use the VPN protocol. But why does he need it, you ask? We have the answer to this question.

Why do lawyers need to use VPN?

First of all, you need to use a VPN to get a high level of Internet connection security, especially when sharing confidential information.  The more switching points (routers, gateways, bridges, nodes) pass data – the higher the likelihood of their interception by hackers. Having the physical parameters of a PC or server (for example, its IP address) by means of vulnerable connection methods, hackers can penetrate it by hacking password protection. Even the operating system “Mac”, which is famous for its reliability, has weaknesses. But do not despair, because we know how to protect your Macbook.

Information Security of Law FirmsAnother reason why a private client needs a VPN connection is remote administration. If you want to protect the server as far as possible from outside intervention, you can create a “whitelist” of IP addresses which have access to it. When one of them (addresses) belongs to a private VPN server, you can safely connect to an administered server from anywhere in the world using an encrypted connection. The administration object will assume that it has been connected to form an authorized terminal, and the administrator may not be concerned about the risk of hacking.

Moreover, VPN protocols are in demand in commercial structures which work with funds and economic secrets. Virtual Private Network does not allow hackers to crack accounts or find out industrial secrets and technologies. Employees who need to gain access to the company’s network resources from home or on a business trip can establish a connection through a VPN without exposing the corporate network to hacking.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we would like to say that choosing a VPN service must be approached responsibly if you are a lawyer who respects the secrets of clients and is concerned about the confidentiality of information. Currently, there are over 300 VPN services on the market. The choice is great, and even too much. Some VPN services are good in terms of security, some in terms of connection speed, and some simply are no good at all. After reading this article, you will learn how to approach the choice of a VPN service, considering for what purposes you need it, and most importantly, you will not waste your money.

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6 Ways to Improve Your Legal Research

The right research is what makes the difference on any case. One of the most common lawyers’ complaints is that the law school didn’t really prepare them for the practical side of the lawyer’s career. To be exact, they enter the job market without having been taught the essential research skills needed for when the case is on the line. Sure, doing your homework on legal briefs and moot court competitions may help a little. However, that’s a lot like comparing reading a DMV manual to actually driving a car. When it comes to the success of a real case and of your career, be sure you employee these essential skills:

1) Free legal resources can only help you so much

Particularly for new lawyers, using free online resources can be essential when you need to keep the costs down. The problem is that these free services can cost you in different ways. More often than not, the information they contain is not up to date or accurate. Not only that, they may not have the essential features such as search tools and filters to help you find the relevant information you need.

2) Work from general to specific

Before you try to find exact cases that match yours, it’s better for you to get to know the subject on broader terms. Most cases are decided on individual rulings so it’s not as if you can use many examples as precedents. Instead, get a grasp on the subject from a broad perspective. By getting an overview, it will put these different cases into context so you can better tailor your legal strategy.

3) Bypass censorship and hidden information

The internet is a treasure chest full of essential information. However, depending on where you live, certain information may be classified or censored. Skipping the overall politics of this, these websites may contain the essential knowledge you need to win your case. For this reason, you should take advantage of a VPN (Virtual Private Network). VPNs allow you to bypass restrictions through anonymizing and encrypting your connection. You can have both mobile and desktop VPN enabled.

How does it work? You connect to a third-party server, which then connects your computer to where you want to go. These have been essential tools for researchers needing access to the deep web where it’s possible to find key info such as websites where whistleblowers release information.

4) Take your time and dig deep

With deadlines and pressure to be ready by hearing dates, along with juggling other cases, it may be tempting to skip the legwork and find quick, straightforward examples. Although this might save you time in the short run, it can hurt once you get in court.  

You need to “chase the rabbit down the hole” and find everything that relates to your case. You never know where exactly you’ll find that perfect gem you need. This will make all the difference between a winning and losing motion.

5) Westlaw is your friend, but don’t become too reliant on it

Westlaw is an amazing service you’ve probably already used. It’s an online legal research service available in the US and the UK. Instead of you digging through endless cases, trained legal research professionals do that for you.

While this can be helpful for new lawyers, it’s a lot like getting CliffsNotes on a novel. You’ll know the story, but if you won’t be able to quote the specific. Use Westlaw as a starting point, but once again, you need to dig into the research.

6) Keep your research and data private

Another essential reason for using a VPN is making sure that your research is kept private. These days, it’s not uncommon for ruthless lawyers to use hackers so that they can get a glimpse into their opponent’s potential arguments.

Likewise, if you have found some juicy nugget that you want to keep from prying eyes, it’s important that no one can check out your internet history. Use a mobile VPN service and make sure the company you choose follows a “no logs” policy. This means that they don’t keep a record of your browsing ensuring your information is truly private.

Doing the right research to win the case

The ability to do excellent research is the backbone of a great lawyer. So take your time and dig deep. With the strategies described above, you’ll be able to tackle any case that comes your way.

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Under Lock and Key: How to Secure Documents Safely

Roughly 300 billion emails are sent every day around the world. Many of those emails contain sensitive information that can have massive legal implications.

Does your business deal heavily in the storing and transmission of trade secrets? What about customer data?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, it’s important that you understand how to secure documents.

No matter the contents of your documents or their medium (digital or paper), our team offers some practical advice on how you can best preserve sensitive information and avoid prying eyes.

1. Always Backup Important Documents

The lowest hanging fruit when it comes to avoiding the loss of pertinent data is to backup documents. You can backup your documents in a variety of ways.

If your documents are paper, make a photocopy of them or digitize them.

If your documents are digital, make digital copies of your documents and store them separately from your original.

However you choose to do it, never have a single copy of something important. If you rely on a single copy, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.

Those who are interested in ways of safely backing up data can read this article.

2. Keep Documents on Encrypted Hard Drives

No matter where your digital documents are stored, ensure that their storage place is properly encrypted. Without encryption, a data thief could easily intercept sensitive information.

There are a number of programs out there (like BitLocker for instance) that allow you to apply military-grade encryption to any digital device you’re leveraging for document storage.

Talk to an IT professional about which tools will work best for your needs.

3. Leverage Safe Deposit Boxes

No matter how much effort you put into protecting your physical or digitally secured documents, they may be at risk if kept in an accessible location. To make sure that hard drives or documents are never intercepted and decrypted, consider storing them in safe deposit boxes until needed.

Safe deposit boxes provide an extra layer of security to your already protected documents. With that, even the most sophisticated of thieves won’t be able to access your data.

4. Use Secure Share Features on Cloud Drives

While not recommended, some businesses transfer secure documents through cloud storage services.

It’s important to know that cloud services, if compelled to do so by the authorities, will release your documents. To better understand third-party service’s relationship with your data, read their privacy policies.

If you send documents via cloud services, use their “protected” share features. This will ensure that if somebody intercepts the link to your document, they won’t be able to read your file’s contents.

5. Drop Physical Documents in Secured Bins for Disposal

Many businesses print out documents that contain a variety of trade secrets. Unfortunately, most assume that if these secrets get shredded prior to disposal, they’re safe.

That’s not the case.

A number of data miners are extremely adept when it comes to piecing back together shredded information.

To truly ensure that your secured documents remain secure upon disposal, find a “secured bins” provider in your area. Then, dispose of your documents in the padlocked trash cans they provide.

6. Ensure That Paper Documents Do Not Sit for Years Unsealed

Client information. Real estate records. Bank statements. These are all examples of documents you may want to preserve.

It’s important to know though that all paper deteriorates if left unsealed in closet spaces or filing cabinets.

Do you have secured documents that will be sitting for long periods of time unattended? If you do, ensure that you take proper steps to reduce their exposure to the elements.

This blog post can give you insight on how long your business might want to hold onto to legal documents. The National Archives provides some guidelines for safe document storage that you can reference here.

7. Leverage a VPN when Sharing Sensitive Information

Many legal professionals advise that people leverage VPN (virtual private network) protection when transmitting information online. Doing so hides your online identity. It also provides data an extra layer of security en-route to its destination.

VPN services can be purchased on a monthly basis from a variety of online service providers. They offer individual subscription plans and enterprise-level plans which are suited for organizations that value high levels of discretion.

8. Provide Employee Training

At the end of the day, human error is the number one culprit when it comes to undermining the safety of secure documents. To eliminate that factor, training is paramount.

If your document concerns revolve around your business operations, take the time to educate. Talk to anybody that comes into contact with sensitive data about how they should manage it.

With a dose of prevention, your business can avoid a world of headaches. It can also avoid civil legal repercussions that come with sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

Wrapping Up How to Secure Documents Safely

Depending on the context of how your secure documents are being utilized, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure their integrity.

We hope that our tips above have informed you as an individual on how to be more cautious with sensitive data and/or have informed you as a business how to better protect trade secrets and customer information.

If you should need any legal help when it comes to your personal or corporate privacy, our team at HALT can help.

HALT is a premier legal directory that has been helping both individuals and businesses form lasting partnerships with local attorneys for years.

Browse our directory, and get the legal guidance you need today!

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