Countries Where VPNs Are Illegal
Belarus, described as “Europe’s last Dictatorship”, has blocked VPNs as it sees them exclusively as a method to undermine the law. Tor has been blocked since 2016 too.
In 2012, the Belarussian government introduced a law restricting access to foreign websites. Those who do face a potential fine of $120.
It may not sound extreme, but for many Belarusians, that’s almost half a year’s wage.
In February 2015, the Communications Ministry also decreed specifically against anonymized services such as VPNs. But to what extent the government has the capacity to contain this expanding market remains unclear.
There is an unnamed fine for anyone caught using a VPN.
VPNs have been fully banned in Iraq since 2014. The government claims it is to keep terrorist organizations, chiefly ISIS, from influencing via social media.
ISIS is no longer operating in Iraq, but the Draconian laws – including shutting down the internet entirely – remain intact.
Government officials use VPNs, too, despite ‘no exceptions’ being the official rule.
No foreign media is allowed at all, so it’s not surprising that VPNs are illegal in North Korea.
The internet is heavily censored. Even diplomats abroad aren’t allowed to use the internet.
The penalty for VPN use is unknown, as North Korea is so secretive.
Turkmenistan banned VPNs in 2015 in order to censor foreign media.
Any use of proxies or VPNs is detected and blocked by the sole state-run ISP, Turkmenet.
The internet itself is deliberately priced out to discourage people from using it, with a monthly subscription costing $213 for 8Kbpsd. That’s more than Turkmenistan’s average monthly salary.
Using a VPN in Turkmenistan can bring an unspecified fine and an intimidating summons from the Ministry of National Security to have a “preventative conversation”.