Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by lotuseclat79, Jun 16, 2012.
How Long Before VPNs Become Illegal?.
FUD I think. Though I agree with him that the new laws are scary, I think it would be extremely tough for them to "ban" VPN's (at least in the U.S.) I think it could be argued as a 1st amendment issue, much like encryption was back in the 90's. They tried to outlaw crypto but they figured out the courts would reject it based on the 1st. I think the same thing would be seen here.
VPN usage in general can't really be made illegal since there are a lot of legitimate enterprise and small business uses for them. "Casual" VPN usage is also unlikely to become illegal for the reasons chronomatic mentioned.
I'm wondering if they'll try and pass laws that make the operators of VPN services more liable for the actions taken by their users in order to scare them off providing the services to start with. I don't think this will succeed, either, but a potential avenue for them to pursue.
As traxx75 says, there are commercial uses, so VPNs won't become illegal. But they will probably be increasingly regulated, and provision for lawful intercept may be required. Pakistan outlawed "unavoidable" VPN use last year, and required ISPs to report usage ( -http://www.bestvpnservice.com/blog/pakistan-vpn-pta-notice ). Iran has recently prohibited illegal VPN use ( -http://main.omanobserver.om/node/98675 ). Although VPN use is apparently not illegal in Saudi Arabia, VSAT use clearly is ( -http://www.isu.net.sa/faqs/faqs.htm). And while VPN use may not be illegal in China, using them probably attracts attention.
I agree with chronomatic that restricting VPN use in the US will face strong opposition, as did efforts to regulate encryption in the 90s. Indeed, the US actively promotes VPN use in nations that it deems repressive. But there will be immense corporate pressure to regulate VPN use as people increasingly use them to hide media sharing and streaming.
I suspect that the UK will be the first Western nation to regulate VPN use, in order to block media "piracy", and to prevent online bullying and defamation. France will probably be next. And then
In any case, it's not too soon to consider what might replace VPNs. Tor and I2P are also vulnerable, because traffic can be identified. I've been discussing this with friends, and we have some general ideas. Basically, we're thinking about covert, encrypted channels in high-bandwidth media streaming. Another key feature will be deniability. And so we're imagining software that's promoted to accelerate media streaming, with other capabilities that are hidden from casual observers. We've been thinking about starting an open source project somewhere, but feel free to steal the idea and run with it
Yeah that's probably what will happen. The FBI has been clamoring for an expansion of CALEA for a few years now. They want to expand it not just to ISP's and phone companies but to actual software services (especially VOIP). So if that expansion is granted to them, it is likely it will apply to VPN's as well. However, it will only apply to American VPN's, so everyone will simply go offshore (which means the FBI loses and is essentially wasting their time). And it is yet to be seen how it will affect non-profit and open-source projects like Tor.
But that's a bit different from "outlawing" VPN's. That will never happen in the U.S. (sure China and Iran are different stories). Europe will be somewhere in the middle -- they have no free speech rights there, but their governments probably wont be so brazen as to "outlaw" private communications.
From my understanding of U.S law VPN's in general could never be made illegal. In the near future I can see them attempting to make particular types of VPN's or services offered by VPN's illegal. They may attempt to make anonymous services offered by VPN's illegal, but secure encryption offered through VPN's could never be made illegal. It is essential for today's economy. The U.S. government would love to make anonymous services illegal, but like someone else already said above that would make VPN's take their business to other countries so it would do no good without a very large scale cooperation with other countries. Their more likely to continue to pass laws that require more aggressive logging, and easier access to their clients info which essentially defeats the purpose of having an anonymous VPN service.
I say good luck to them on that, in trying to regulate VPN services incorporated outside the USA. I could see them requiring logging on any servers housed in the USA, and HR 1981 would require that, but how are you going to regulate a VPN service headquartered in, say, Cyprus. It can't be done.
There is no way they could enforce that outside the United States. One guy, in China, for example, runs VPN services all over the world. He even has a server in China, itself, becuase he knows China will never cooperate.
There is no way they could enforce such a law on VPN provider, whose offices and business are in China. Beijing would likely tell Washington to take a long walk off a short pier.
Where do you get your information? China has cooperated on several occasions with U.S. authorities regarding crime and the Internet. China is not an enemy of the USA, in fact - they depend on the U.S. market and the millions of jobs that U.S. companies provide.
A VPN provider operating a server in China would also be subjected to the same filtering as any other ISP in China. The Great Firewall of China is real. But to think that makes anything going through Chinese servers "safe", if it involves what both countries consider criminal behavior, you would be in for a surprise.
What VPN provider has a server in China? That would just be bizarre with their tight controls and heavy filtering/censoring.
While the following article does not indicate that the VPN is illegal - it begs the question of whether it is a step in that direction:
PayPal Bans BitTorrent Friendly VPN Provider
The legal question is the freezing of the money for payments already made with PayPal. The ensuing litigation should free up those payments made before the PayPal policy went into effect.
not no more
Three weeks ago Paypal decided to freeze the account of TorGuard, a company that offers VPN and proxy services.
According to a Paypal representative the VPN service violated “some agreements” because of TorGuard’s affiliation with BitTorrent.
Even after the owner explained that his company was just offering a VPN connection, Paypal didn’t change their decision.
However, 48 hours after we made the news public, Paypal has decided that it was all a mistake. TorGuard’s account is restored and thousands of dollars in funds are unfrozen.
Our review is complete and we have restored your account.
We appreciate your patience and thank you for your help in making PayPal
the safest and most trusted online payment solution.
TorGuard is happy to be back with Paypal, even though they had to be outed before taking action.
“I’m amazed at how unprofessionally paypal handled this entire process,” TorGuard’s Jason told TorrentFreak. “Hopefully now we can get down to business as usual!”.
It's a shame Paypal don't care to refund money to every-day people who are tricked by scammers e.g. the folks who believe it when they get calls from 'Microsoft' about viruses on their computers, and pay for the 'Protection Plan'.
To be fair, UK banks are just as bad - they fight it tooth and nail, saying that people "paid for a service so it's not fraud" when people report it. Any 'service' that is misrepresented as badly as these ones are blatently fraudulent in my book.
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