Which Country is the Most VPN-Oriented One?
Data protection is not only about secure protocols and reliable encryption. There should be a law regulating the activities of VPN services in such a way as to make users feel comfortable about everything.
Like any sphere, Internet and, particularly, VPN services is subject to regulation by law in any jurisdiction. Being a very sensitive matter, and it is absolutely imperative that all privacy laws be strictly followed. One reason why laws are quite so strict on it is that VPN services (including, but not limited to BroVPN), can intercept user traffic. Because the Internet works in such a way that there is no remedy against this flaw, there should be a law regulating a VPN services’ activity concerning privacy and confidentiality aspects. Each country has its own legislation, and levels of privacy protection differ greatly from place to place. So, what’s the best country selection for VPN?
It could be possible to determine how VPN-oriented a country is based on a few factors. These include:
How strict privacy laws are;
Whether or not VPN services are forced (legally or not) to trace and log user data and user online activity;
Whether or not governmental authorities practice data retention;
Whether or not the government, openly or secretly, cooperates with surveillance services;
Whether the country has a well-developed IT infrastructure and qualified human resources.
Like any business, a VPN service has to choose a country where it wants to be headquartered. Consequently, it should abide by this country’s laws. According to numerous experts, Switzerland appears to be but the most VPN-oriented jurisdiction in the world. To see how it would work for BroVPN and other paid and free VPN services, let’s discuss the factors listed above in detail.
Privacy Law Protection
The Swiss government takes great care to protect personal privacy, and in doing so it beats any other government in Europe and the Americas. VPN services can feel free here. Although Switzerland has signed a whole bunch of international assistance agreements, they are strict on any request coming from foreign surveillance or intelligence services. Any such request should meet Swiss data protection standards, which are much stricter than those of any other country. Surveillance services of countries, whose personal privacy policies fail to meet these standards (China, Iran, Turkey, Russia, etc.), will not get the green light until they bring their policies to accord with Swiss standards. In privacy protection Switzerland is a top country selection for VPN users.
Tracing and Logging User Data
In this respect, Switzerland looks like a land of paradise compared to other Western countries, to say nothing of the rest of the world. For example, it is hardly possible for an American VPN service to guarantee privacy, because the US government can legally force VPN services to trace and log a user’s activity in the Internet. On the other hand, this kind of practice is not mandatory in the US. This dubious practice, coupled with the one-sided attitude of the FISA Court, make it hard for VPN services to guarantee that users’ data is not going to be compromised. The Swiss legislation does not allow the country’s government to do anything like that.
Enforced Data Retention
Switzerland does have data retention laws. However, they do not apply to companies like BroVPN. They regulate the activities of major telecommunication groups and national ISPs. In this respect, Switzerland is an attraction for VPN companies from around the globe.
The 2006 Data Retention Directive (canceled in 2014 by the EU Court of Justice) applied to all EU countries, as well as some non-EU countries - Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. It was a crippling blow to VPN service users privacy. However, Switzerland was the only country, to which the directive did not apply, so VPN services would continue to feel comfortable there. Even though the directive is no longer applicable around the EU and run counter to the EU law, some of its regulations have become part of national laws and they are now in force. There are no signs of these countries’ governments wanting to loosen the grip.
The United States government does not officially enforce data retention either. However, BroVPN and other VPN service providers say the US is not a secure place for personal privacy.
Although data retention is not mandatory in the United States, it does take place there. What’s even worse is that companies and persons who are forced to submit data, have to sign gag orders and are not allowed to disclose any information about these procedures and the pressure they have to face. Therefore, nobody is accountable for data retention in this country. For this reason, the USA, as well as many EU countries like Germany and Great Britain, where similar practices take place, do not look great for VPN services.
No matter how good a privacy law a country could have, surveillance and intelligence services have tools, which actually nullify these laws. Particularly, many countries share, for example, the 14 Eyes agreement, which legalizes agencies’ invasive law enforcement practices. VPN services will have this problem in any country sharing the agreement.
Happily, this is not the case with Switzerland. According to Swiss laws, all governmental and law enforcement authorities must reveal any secret information concerning orders to subjects under scrutiny. For example, such subjects have the right to appeal against these surveillance practices in court.
About IT Infrastructure
There are countries in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, where there is no such surveillance or law enforcement. However, they are not good for VPN services either for the simple reason that there is no equipment or personnel qualifying to maintain the complex IT infrastructure. Operating a virtual private network requires the use of tons of equipment and expertise on the part of staff. These countries lack the technical basis for VPN services. Switzerland is the right place because it has a well-developed infrastructure that is part of the global network.
That was just a brief outline of factors that make Switzerland a VPN mecca and a great country selection for VPN. Also, Switzerland-based VPN services mention other goodies as they explain their choice of a host country.
According to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which was passed by the EU government in 2018, all companies must strictly follow privacy laws, and any violation will result in a €20 million fine. This law affects any company, which has customers in EU countries. Although Switzerland is not a EU member, many Swiss companies have to abide by the new regulation, because they have crowds of users in the EU. BroVPN believes that following GDPR principles creates a solid legal basis for work in the EU or elsewhere. This makes these law-abiding companies attractive for users as a reliable VPN services.
Geographic location of a company’s headquarters office is very important, because its activity is regulated by laws that are applicable in the host country. However, today these companies have staffs working in different countries. For example, a large part of a Swiss company’s staff may be operating in Poland, Hungary, etc. The host country’s laws will apply to the entire company even if most of its staff operates outside of it. BroVPN considers Switzerland as the best place for running IT business, because its laws could give us a lot of freedoms and an opportunity to operate safely and keep our customers satisfied with stable work and personal data security level. And, again, Switzerland is a best country selection for VPN.
What’s the Verdict?
No matter, how democratic and effective privacy laws could bee, there is no guarantee of a hundred-percent security. However, it is quite possible to observe the striving for perfection, which Swiss authorities are demonstrating. Now, Switzerland can be deemed the most VPN service oriented country in the world, as its legislation provides the highest protection of personal data compared to other countries.
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