Everyone has a right to access the Internet freely and privately, regardless of where they are. While VPNs are developed mainly to respect this right certain countries have strict laws and regulations that monitor or ban certain online activities done through a VPN. To enhance your online privacy, knowing the best countries for VPN privacy can benefit you. Below you will find more details on this topic.
For a VPN to be the best, it must provide users with strong encryption standards and implement solid legal protections. Each country has its privacy laws and rules regarding specific actions that can be performed on the Internet, such as torrenting, P2P sharing, or streaming.
When considering VPN services, legal rules in each country play an essential role in the level of privacy protection that a VPN can provide. Choosing the right server location/country is very important as your Internet speed, protection against external threats, and overall browsing experience depend significantly on that choice. These Internet laws vary across different countries. Due to this, it might seem challenging to decide on the perfect server location that can assure you of a safe browsing experience without restrictions.
This article provides the best VPN server locations perfect for your online activities. Various factors, such as data privacy laws, Internet freedom, and digital infrastructure, were used to assess the reliability of connecting to a server in the countries highlighted. Without further ado, let’s learn more about these countries in detail.
Quick List – Best Countries for VPN Privacy
Check out the best six countries that provide VPN privacy:
- British Virgin Islands: Best country with strong privacy laws that prevents your data from being used without your consent.
- Switzerland: Best VPN country for safe browsing from anywhere in the world.
- Panama: Best VPN location for an anonymous browsing experience.
- Malaysia: Best server location with strict privacy laws that protects your online data from any third party.
- Iceland: A server location with various laws and regulations in place that guarantees online privacy.
- Spain: A VPN server location with legal rules that respect an individual’s right to privacy and personal data protection.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Country for VPN Privacy
As important as connecting to a server location in a country that cares about your online privacy and security, the country where the VPN service provider is located is also very important. The laws in each country affect your privacy when connected to a server and the trust you should place in your VPN regarding your data.
Before deciding on the country with the best VPN privacy service, you must answer the following questions;
Does the Country Have Mandatory Data Retention Laws?
Most countries have data retention laws forcing ISPs to store user data and report these activities to the government. In some countries, the ISPs must store their user’s name, location, duration of online session, device model, websites visited, online calls made and received, and emails sent.
Taking the British Virgin Islands as an example. Like almost all countries worldwide, British Virgin Island (BVI) has data retention laws. However, the BVI proposed a Data Protection Act (DPA) in 2019, such that any company or organization that has access to a person’s data must request access, which will only be approved under the consent of the person in question. If a private or public company disregards this law, there will be legal penalties.
This law suggests that BVI-based companies, such as ExtremeVPN, must strictly abide by this law and handle your personal data and online traffic transparently and responsibly.
Can the VPN Service Provider Be Forced to Intercept or Log User Data?
Some countries have questionable practices that can tear down the online protections that privacy-focused companies can offer their users. For instance, the United States has no mandatory data retention laws, but the US government can force a VPN company to start storing their user’s online activity.
Although the BVI has a mandatory data retention law, the information stored can only be retained for a specific duration. And as stated earlier, no one can access this information without your consent. So, you can rest assured that all data stored when connected to ExtremeVPN or a server location in the BVI are tightly secured.
Is It Possible To Force the VPN Service Provider to Secretly Record User Activity?
What’s worse than a country with data retention laws is a country that gives secret directives to VPN companies to log their user’s data without liability. In some countries, such as the US, UK, and Germany, government directives typically come with a gag order, preventing VPN companies from disclosing that they have been coerced to start logging their user’s online activities.
The British Virgin Islands differentiates itself from other countries regarding this secrecy regulation as the DPA clearly states how users’ data are managed. Before authorities can use your data, your information can only be accessed once you clearly understand the purpose of the access request and approve it.
Is the Country Party to Any Monitoring or Intelligence Sharing Agreements?
Even if a country has strong privacy laws, its involvement in surveillance and intelligence-sharing agreements might make enforcing those laws more challenging. Certain countries are part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes intelligence sharing agreement. The countries included in these agreements are vulnerable to harsh data collection and retention laws.
These intelligence monitoring and sharing agreements entail that these countries’ law enforcement and intelligence agencies can take advantage of their most intrusive law enforcement measure. Fortunately, BVI does not belong to the 14-eye intelligence agreement, making it the perfect choice for a VPN connection.
Does the Country Have Strong Privacy Laws?
Strong privacy laws are essential because they help ensure you have control over how your data can be used. This means that your online data can only be used how you want it to be used and that you can access them easily. Even if you don’t know much or understand data privacy concerns, these laws are put in place to protect you.
The British Virgin Islands has strict privacy laws that ensure any surveillance request from any intelligence agency (or anyone in general) regarding your data follows a strict security measure defined by the DPA. This helps ensure that your data can’t be collected or processed without any form of consent from you.
Countries such as China, North Korea, Russia, and Turkey, fail this standard as they don’t have a trustworthy and robust legal guarantee for people’s data privacy.
Does the Country Have Advanced IT Infrastructure and a Large Talent Pool?
A significant amount of technological expertise, typically accessible in more developed countries, is required to establish and operate a VPN service. The British Virgin Islands is no exception for countries with the most advanced technological infrastructure and a vast talent pool integrated worldwide.
Detailed List – Best Countries for VPN Privacy
Below is a detailed overview of 6 best countries that guarantee your online privacy when using a VPN;
1. British Virgin Island (BVI)
The British Virgin Islands houses one of the best VPN service providers – ExtremeVPN. BVI has laws and regulations on processing personal data under the Data Protection Act (DPA). The DPA governs how public and private companies, like ExtremeVPN, can process personal information. Based on this act, ExtremeVPN can only use your data (or any sensitive information) for something with proof of adequate data protection or consent.
In addition, BVI privacy law requires a ‘data controller’ to protect personal data from misuse or modification. Although this law exists, VPNs like ExtremeVPN, based in BVI, only demand the least personal information from their users.
ExtremeVPN only asks for its users’ email addresses when signing up. While they store users’ payment information, payment methods such as cryptocurrency are allowed to promote an anonymous form of payment. Also, ExtremeVPN comes with a no-log policy, which guarantees you the online privacy you require. With the DPA laws in BVI, you can rest assured that your online traffic and data won’t be monitored, misused, or stolen.
Switzerland, known for its mountains, clocks, cheese, and chocolates, has proven to be one of the best locations for VPN providers. As a neutral country, Switzerland does not partake in any alliance or unions that can place your online activities under monitoring by a third party.
Also, personal privacy protection laws are highly esteemed, as stated in its own Data Protection Act. This act clearly states what kind of personal information can be stored by VPN providers, how it can be processed, and who can access it. Although the law is being revised to improve the handling of personal data, a new Federal Act on Data Protection (FADP) will be implemented on September 1st, 2023.
Switzerland demands that a data controller, such as a VPN provider, can’t disclose your personal information without clearly stating the purpose and consenting to the request. If not, the VPN provider will be legally penalized. All these laws kept in place make Switzerland a haven that prevents you from worrying about your information privacy.
Many VPN providers have servers in Panama due to the anonymity of connecting to a server location there. Panama is famous for its strict laws governing the effects of offshore jurisdiction, which makes it an excellent place for VPN providers.
With its safe offshore jurisdiction, additional protection is placed on users’ data, which means that the chance of a VPN provider being forced to transfer data to authorities is minimal. Under Article 29 of Panama’s constitution, online privacy protection is clearly stated and requires that private activities can’t be intercepted without a warrant.
Also, Bill 665 was passed on Personal Data Protection and stated that any party storing personal information is to delete it within ten days of the owner’s request. These laws kept in place make Panama to be recognized as one of the best countries for online privacy.
Malaysia surprisingly makes this list as one of the best countries that guarantee your online privacy. Despite its restrictions on certain online activities, it boasts of strict privacy laws that not only protect Malaysian organizations and citizens but also anyone that connects to a server location in Malaysia.
Malaysia implements one of the strictest privacy regulations in the world that ensures that your data is safeguarded and kept safe from any third-party use. This law is clearly stated in its Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), and non-compliance can result in a fine or imprisonment!
Iceland remains one of the finest countries for VPN providers, even though no major VPNs are based there. The country houses several laws and regulations that guarantee your online privacy.
One of these laws includes the Equal Access Act, which prevents ISPs from restricting access to any Internet site to any browsing done in Iceland (including a server connection). Also, through its Data Protection Act, users have more control over their data and how it can be stored.
With Iceland’s existing commitment to online privacy and freedom, connecting to a server location in Iceland can guarantee the safety of your personal information.
Spain is part of the European Union and follows the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The country also has its own data protection and online privacy laws guaranteeing an individual’s right to privacy and personal data protection. This includes your right to consent or withdraw from collecting and using your personal information.
Spain’s data protection law not only protects its citizens or companies based there but can also protect you if you connect to a server location in Spain.
What’s the Best VPN Location for Privacy?
The best VPN location to connect to for online privacy is the British Virgin Islands. This country is known for its strict data protection laws, which favor an individual and require consent from the owner before access can be granted to a third party. Also, the BVI does not belong to any intelligence alliance such as the 5 eyes, 9 eyes, or 14 eyes, further confirming the optimum safety the country provides for your data.
What’s the Best Country for VPN Streaming?
British Virgin Islands is one of the best countries for VPN streaming. Due to the country’s favorable data protection law, VPN providers can ensure that users’ streaming activities remain secure and private. Users will also enjoy unrestricted access to streaming platforms like Netflix, HULU, and HBO Max.
Connecting to a BVI-based VPN such as ExtremeVPN can ensure a seamless and unrestricted streaming experience.
What’s the Best VPN Server Location for Torrenting?
If you are looking for a VPN server location perfect for torrenting, connecting to any British Virgin Islands city is excellent. In most countries worldwide, downloading copyrighted files using P2P sharing is deemed illegal. This act can either lead to a strict warning by your ISP or, in the worst-case scenario, you get prosecuted.
However, BVI is a safe haven with a strict no-logging policy. With this policy, you can start enjoying worry-free torrenting.
What Countries to Avoid Using a VPN
North Korea stays at the top of the VPN countries to avoid. While only a tiny percent of their population can access the global Internet, the rest of their citizens can only go online through a restrictive Internet service called ‘Kwangmyong.’ As this intranet service is closed off, VPNs don’t work with it. Even if you discover a VPN with a North Korean server, connecting to it isn’t beneficial, as access to most social media and news sites is blocked.
Another country to avoid is China. The Chinese government boasts of one of the largest and most advanced censorship systems – the Great Firewall. This censorship system provided a means for the Chinese government to track the web activities of VPN users, which is against the purpose of using a VPN. Also, with a Chinese IP address, you won’t be able to access most social media platforms, such as Facebook, and specific news sites, including foreign journals.
It should not be a surprise that Russia made this list. Russia is well-known for its cyber-security issues and the great lengths its government goes to monitor Internet activities performed in the country. It even went as far as stating the terms for allowing a VPN provider to operate there, including one that requires companies to log their users’ data.
Syria is another country to avoid. After their civil war, restrictions on certain online services and websites have been imposed. This is because no one in the country is legally prevented from producing or accessing content that will criticize the government. Also, the Syrian government occasionally plans Internet shutdowns, possibly due to the attacks on their digital infrastructure.
With the various censorship laws in certain countries, the British Virgin Islands remains our top pick as the best country that provides online privacy and a safe streaming and torrenting experience. This is why ExtremeVPN is headquartered in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Due to this, we can provide our users with the optimum privacy protection they need on the Internet.