Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Is it Safe to use VPN Services in Saudi Arabia?

The problem of internet censorship is prevalent in many countries around the world. It is especially becoming a strict compliance within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One of the best solutions to bypass internet filtering is VPN services. It is very important to realize what the VPN service is, before you decide to actually subscribe to any VPN service that you see online. There are other methods to access blocked sites, like proxy servers, however they are not as reliable as VPN services. This is why you might be interested to find out whether it is safe and secure to use the VPN services in this Gulf Country. Is it possible for the Internet filtering in Saudi Arabia to be bypassed and to stay safe and secure? The short answer is simple NO. You cannot use VPN Service in Saudi Arabia as it is against the country’s cyber laws.

Internet Censorship in Saudi Arabia
It should be noted that Facebook, Skype and Twitter are available in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; however it does not mean that you may post anything that you desire online. Speaking against Islam, Political criticism and also pornographic or homosexual content is strictly prohibited within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you blatantly decide to disregard this and continue to post such material, all your posts and updates will be blocked and removed and persistent uploading or posting of such material can get you arrested. The Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission also known as the CITC is the regulatory authority of all of the online activities of the residents of the country. This regulatory authority banned the use of the Viber app as full control of the App or the site cannot be taken over, which does not allow them to control the posts being made. Currently still the site is blocked and no reports have emerged as to the lifting of the ban, however people of Saudi Arabia can still access this through a VPN service.

How VPN Service Works?
People use VPN services to access to the blocked websites and get away from internet filtering. This is primarily because the VPN service shields your personal information and IP address and presents you as a foreign user from another country, hence your location can also not be traced. All your traffic or all the records of the sites you visited is kept safe in the VPN tunnel which allows your activity to be same from hackers. As soon as you are connected to the VPN service you will be issued a new IP address, probably of another country.

Even if the CTIC bans you somehow, the VPN service will provide you a new IP address with a different location which will be safe for the time being from the CTIC. While selecting which VPN service to use, you need to find one which provides good support. Generally people have questions about the VPN service which is not answered by representatives of the VPN services themselves. It is because of this that paid VPN services are preferred over the free ones as they provide better customer support and are of better quality.

Punishment of using VPN Services in Saudi Arabia
Even with all the benefits, use of VPN services is not encouraged by us as they can lead to harsh and strict consequences. The penalties may reach up to deportation from country for expatriates living in Saudi Arabia and very harsh punishment for the Saudis. I could not find any case in Saudi Arabia but UAE has deported some people as Police found VPN software in their mobile phones. I personally don’t use it and strictly discourage readers of this blog to use it.

Technological Information about KSA
  1. Google Maps Track our Every Move – Get Your Location History of Last 30 Days Now
  2. Highest number of Youtube views in the world – Saudi Arabia
  3. 9 Wifi Safety Tips during your stay in Saudi Arabia
  4. Who owns the Internet in Arab World?
  5. Best Online Shopping Websites in Saudi Arabia


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