The internet in the UK has gone through several troubling developments recently, including a proposed ban on encryption and strict web censorship. For these reasons and more, it’s critical to protect your privacy with a VPN in the UK.
So just what are the risks of going online in the UK — and what does a VPN do to help?
Here are the top 10 reasons why you absolutely need to use a VPN in the UK. Your privacy is no joke, so don’t treat it like one!
Top 10 Reasons Why You Need a VPN While in the UK
1. Digital Surveillance Is on the Rise in the UK
Under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, the government can monitor and intercept communications and metadata as it pleases.
The bill also compels ISPs to keep a log of the websites visited by each user for at least 1 year.
Encrypting your traffic with a VPN is the best way to throw a wrench in the government’s surveillance efforts.
2. Without a VPN, You Won’t Be Able to Access Certain Websites
The UK blocks websites that fall into many different categories, including torrent sites, unofficial streaming sites and hacking sites. But many innocuous websites also get filtered out.
Currently, over 1,600 sites are blocked in the UK. And that’s not counting the thousands of sites that have been erroneously blocked over the years, including the feminist news site Jezebel and domestic abuse resources.
Because of these blocks, you’ll need to use a VPN to access many sites in the UK. A VPN’s encryption lets you get around the web filters that are responsible for blocking the sites.
3. The UK Is Taking Steps Towards Locking Down the Internet
It seems like every year in the UK, there’s a new proposal that would severely limit online freedom in some way.
There’s the proposed encryption ban, which would prohibit end-to-end encryption in the country. This would also ban encrypted messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp.
And then there’s the much-discussed porn ban, which would have required anyone with a UK IP address to provide ID before viewing a porn site. Though the measure was ultimately abandoned, it would have had massive effects on digital privacy.
The government’s willingness to enact such measures is bad news for the future. Getting a VPN now will let you protect yourself against the next big government threat to online freedom.
4. Violating the UK’s Internet Laws Could Land You in Prison
A 2019 law made it illegal to view “terrorist propaganda” or express support for certain groups online. The punishment: up to 15 years in prison.
That’s 15 years in prison not for being a terrorist, or committing acts of terrorism, but for watching a video of or reading an article by someone in a prohibited group.
If you don’t want to take that risk but still want to freely consume information, use a VPN. Its encryption prevents the government from seeing what you’re doing — and keeps you out of jail.
5. The UK Is a Member of Five Eyes
Along with its buddies the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the UK is a member of Five Eyes. This international surveillance alliance swaps intelligence, monitors the internet and collects massive amounts of data on innocent internet users.
Such data includes the content of private messages, Skype calls, web histories, download histories, emails, phone calls, text messages and just about every other type of digital communication.
Not into the idea of these world superpowers knowing everything you do online? Then use a VPN — its encryption hasn’t yet been broken by any nation.
6. You Need a VPN to Torrent Safely in the UK
Torrenting without a VPN might be tricky in the UK, given the country’s strict blocking of torrent sites. But if you do manage to get a download started, you could still be in trouble without a VPN.
Get caught downloading copyrighted material and you could be hit with hundreds of pounds worth of fines. Refuse to pay and you’ll have to go to court, where your final bill could total in the tens of thousands.
But with a VPN, all you have to do is connect to a server and you’ll become virtually untraceable. A VPN hides your real IP address so you can’t be tracked down while torrenting.
7. A VPN Is the Best Way to Stream Internationally
Streaming sites like Netflix may be convenient, but only if they work in your country. Depending on where you are, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to watch the content you’re used to due to licensing restrictions.
However, you can simply switch to a VPN server in a different country to access new streaming libraries. It’s perfect for travelers and fans of foreign media.
8. VPNs Protect Your Data on Public WiFi Networks
When you connect to public WiFi, you open yourself up to hackers and data thieves. Anyone can hop on these networks, which means anyone could be putting your personal information at risk.
That’s why it’s so important to encrypt your traffic with a VPN on public WiFi. Encrypted data is pretty much useless to hackers — it just looks like gibberish.
9. You Get More Freedom and Privacy at Work with a VPN
Most companies these days have WiFi networks for employees to use. The problem is that most of them also block the sites you know and love: Facebook, YouTube, Amazon and other “unproductive” websites are no-gos on work WiFi.
But a VPN lets you get around these network filters and access any site you want. After all, what you do on your lunch break is your business!
10. A VPN Lets You Get the Best Price when Shopping Online
Did you know that it’s totally legal for companies to charge you different prices for the same item based on your IP address?
It’s true, and it’s more common than you think. Airlines and hotels are especially guilty of this practice — a plane ticket may cost £500 to a UK customer but just £300 to a Canadian customer!
You can easily avoid this with a VPN. Just switch to a server in a different country and check those prices again — you might be surprised by how much you can save!