Data Breaches

Is Your VPN Provider in a 14 Eyes Country? (What is 14 Eyes?)

The reason people have Virtual private networks (VPNs) is that they protect our online privacy, however, privacy is essentially non-existent if you live in a place where the government is allowed to track your online activities. This is why you need to get a good VPN, the goal is to make sure that you don’t have to worry about third-parties keeping an eye on you. However, while using a VPN, it is important to know if it is in a 14 Eyes country. – Now, that being said, you are probably asking what is a 14 Eyes country?

Before you decide to use a VPN, it is important to have a good amount of background information on the VPN company. In terms of the 14 Eyes countries, they all have entered into the UKUSA Agreement which basically allows countries to share information about international communications between two parties. This is obviously something that would bother VPN users because why should anyone be allowed to access your online activities especially when it does not involve anything illegal such as terrorism or explicit content involving children or animals?

See: Top 10 VPN Services For 2019

How is the UKUSA Agreement Utilized?

In the United States, it is “illegal” for the government to spy on its citizens. There have to be warrants and lots of other legal proceedings done for the government can surveil its citizens. The United Kingdom, for example, doesn’t have any of the same limitations that the United States has on surveillance of the same American citizen. This could allow the United States under the UKUSA Agreement to give a nudge to UK authorities to look at different folks and see exactly what they are up to.

 

Naturally, there are certain rights that folks have in different countries that protect their privacy, but in the world of online communications, the legal rulings in these areas are, at best murky. Because there is an evolving legal precedent, it’s difficult for users to know exactly where their rights to privacy in online communications and visits begin and end. That’s why many turn to VPNs since a reliable VPN doesn’t track what you do online. 

What are the 14 Eyes Countries?

14 Eyes refer to the countries who have signed the UKUSA Agreement. Obviously, the UK and the USA are part of the 14 countries. The other twelve are:

Italy
Canada,
Australia
Denmark
France
Netherlands
Norway
Germany
Belgium
Sweden
Spain
New Zealand

Additionally, other countries that are believed to be part of the 14 Eyes but not officially are Israel and Japan. After the Snowden leak, it was confirmed that Singapore and South Korea are also taking part in the agreement.

Why You Should Avoid a VPN in a 14 Eyes Country?

Many countries – especially the United States – can get your internet history and worse yet, they can do so without notifying you. The VPN that is located in a 14 Eyes country is subject to laws that essentially allow the legal system to compel the private entity (a VPN) to surrender information about a user’s web habits.

See: This map shows free WiFi passwords from airports worldwide

Furthermore, VPNs in these countries are forced to keep logs of exactly what someone browses and what they do on the Internet. Therefore, if you are going to use a VPN, it is extremely wise to get a VPN that is not based in any of the 14 eyes countries and be wary of any VPN based in Singapore, South Korea, Israel, and Japan.

How do I Find Out Where a VPN is Located?

It is actually not too difficult to find out which VPNs are not based within the 14 Eyes countries. The easiest way to find this out is to do a Google Search, but when you look at a VPN’s landing page you will notice the address at the bottom will probably tell you where it is based. If you are still not sure, look at the billing information. 

Some countries where you may find great VPNs in are Hong Kong, Taiwan, and several Eastern European nations that are part of the EU and NATO. These countries allow you to have the technical savvy of one of the 14 Eyes countries while not having to deal with the different issues that plague VPN usage such as a lack of privacy. 

Selecting a Good VPN

The key to selecting a good VPN is first understanding the purpose. There are different VPNs for gaming and others that are great for streaming. However, when looking generally at a VPN, the key is having a few really solid features. Understand that you’ll have to pay for a VPN, but what they offer makes it worth it.

See: What If Your VPN Keeps Logs and Why You Should Care

The first feature to look for is a large number of servers. This will allow you to select the server closest to you. A close server allows for a better connection, especially in terms of gaming. Another important factor is that the VPN doesn’t track your data. This is why many people trust VPNs, and when you have a VPN from a place that isn’t part of the 14 Eyes nations, then you have a VPN that you can trust.

Another important consideration is the ease of use of a VPN. When you get one that doesn’t make it too complicated to log on and get to work, then you will have no problem using the VPN for all of your purposes.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, governments will always try to overreach into what you do in the privacy of your home. While you are working at getting a VPN that’s not based in one of the 14 Eyes countries, be sure that your information is not being tracked by free VPNs since such providers are known for selling browsing data to third-parties.

Nevertheless, VPNs provide great security and protect your privacy very well, so be sure you get a VPN that keeps your information away from overreaching governments.

See: Mozilla’s ‘Track This’ lets you choose fake identity to deceive advertisers

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