Kenya Top VPN, Legality, Stats, and Recommendations
Kenya is the seventh richest country in Africa. Located in East Africa, Kenya has a long history of tourism thanks to its extraordinary wildlife and picturesque landscapes. Tourism and coffee are the country’s biggest industries. Kenya continues to develop faster than many other African nations thanks to a fast growing economy.
With a population of almost 50 million people, Internet penetration in Kenya is 90%. Such high usage can be linked to the introduction of fiber optic Internet. The use of these cables allows Kenyans the opportunity to access the Internet from multiple devices at a low price point.
Kenya ranks #95 out of 180 countries for Internet connectivity. Advancements in connectivity are constantly met with new challenges, such as lack of infrastructure and the low purchasing power of Kenyan citizens.
Media freedom also continues to decline. Many African governments have surveillance protocols in place to monitor its citizens. The Communications Authority of Kenya manages the communications sector and often monitors private emails. In the past, the department has shut down television channels as a result of political tensions.
The majority of VPN usage in Kenya is the result of the 2014 Security Laws Amendment Act law. It made the Internet in Kenya highly restricted. Because a VPN masks the location of your IP address and changes it to a different country, it’s an affordable way to get around political censorship. An IP address located in another country can also unlock geo-restricted content on streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
Is it Legal to Use a VPN in Kenya?
VPNs are not considered illegal in Kenya, and there is no current legislation in place against them.
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Why Use a VPN in Kenya?
As previously mentioned, censorship is one of the primary reasons why you should use a VPN in Kenya. The country has two main censorship laws:
Communications Amendment Act
In effect since January 2009, this amendment increased state control over the Internet. It gives the state the power to take control of media houses. It also allows the government to control the distribution of content. The amendment is part of the Communications Act. It states that anyone publishing or transmitting obscene materials is committing a criminal offense.
Security Laws Amendment Act
Since 2014, the government strictly prohibits the coverage and broadcasting of:
- Video or photo materials that contain images of dead or injured people.
- Materials that serve to undermine the political laws of the country and national security.
- Content that promotes homosexuality.
- Ideas or events that contradict the culture and moral values of Kenya.
- Critics toward government officials.
While the Kenyan government widely states that there is no censorship, the 2017 elections showed there were many laws in place to restrict the freedom of the media.
In 2018 the government cut off transmission to a group of the country’s private TV stations. The move was to block the public from viewing the swearing-in of the opposition leader.
Cybersecurity and Data Protection
There is a real threat of cyberattacks in Kenya. Currently, the country ranks 69 out of 127 countries according to the Global Threat Index. Developing countries are at higher risk for cybercrimes and hackers often target younger users. There are several instances of hackers targeting Kenyan banks in recent years. In addition to banks, government websites are also targeted. In June 2019, a group of websites was hacked by Indonesian Hackers. Microsoft has predicted a further increase in cybercrime in the country.
The government did pass a law in 2019 to become more compliant with GDPR data privacy regulations. Kenya also does not participate in an intelligence alliance such as 9 Eyes or 14 Eyes. VPN users can use servers with some comfort that their data will not be shared with other governments. There is also no evidence that ISPs inside of the country collect user data.
Internet Speed and VPN Accessibility
The average Internet speed for mobile devices is 13.7 megabits per second (Mbps). In a recent test, Kenya ranks 89 out of 190 countries for average connection speed. The average download speed is 21.65 Mbps, and the average upload speed is 11.90 Mbps.
For fixed broadband Internet, Kenya ranks 124th. The average download speed is 18.17 Mbps, and the average upload speed is 19.56 Mbps.
There was a time when Kenya was said to have a higher peak average Internet speed than both Australia and the United States. But advances continue to slow, even though more people have access to the Internet than ever before.
There are over 40,000 free WiFi hotspots in Kenya. The majority are located in the capital of Nairobi. They are also common in Mombasa, Nakuru, and other areas of the country. Although public WiFi provides the population with accessible Internet, it is a breeding ground for hackers. The use of a VPN on open mobile networks helps to protect your sensitive information.
Access To VPN Servers
Kenya doesn’t have any legislation in place against VPNs. Therefore you can find VPN providers that have servers with a Kenyan IP Address. The VPN provider CyberGhost has 10 servers in Kenya. Ivy has one dedicated Kenyan Server.
However, to circumvent limited Internet freedoms you will need to use a VPN located in another country. A Kenyan IP address is helpful if you’re abroad and wish to access local websites or streaming content. But if you are inside of the country, the goal is to mask that your location is in Kenya.
What to Look for in a Kenya VPN
Certain VPN features can improve your online experience. If you stream content in Kenya, you will likely experience low-quality resolution and long periods of buffering or latency. According to research by Open Signal out of a scale of 100, Kenya ranks 44 in terms of video experience.
VPNs do not typically improve your Internet speed, but they can make it worse. Many free VPNs are slow and will negatively impact your viewing experience. It’s important to use a quality VPN that focuses on fast speeds so that your Internet connection doesn’t become even slower.
Another feature to look for is a no-logging policy. Most VPN providers do not keep user information. Some, however, are required to log information for potential future use by law enforcement. Because Kenya practices Internet censorship, it’s important to keep your data and online behaviors hidden. Check where the VPN company is located. If they are based in Panama, for instance, the company is not required to log data.
Access to multiple servers is another factor to consider. Multiple VPN servers help prevent overcrowding, which can impact latency and buffering speeds. They also help unlock a larger catalog of geo-restricted content.
Kenya has enough censorship regulations in place that it is advisable to use a VPN every time you go online. Surveillance acts are part of the Kenyan constitution. If you work in the media or are sharing information that is in opposition to the government, you could face serious consequences. Protect yourself from legal consequences and the threat of cyber attacks with a VPN.
Detailed Information About Kenyan VPNs in 2021
Primary Official Language: English
Domain Extension: .ke
Local Google Domain: google.co.ke
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