Singapore Top VPN, Legality, Stats, and Recommendations

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 2:11 PM ET Fri, May 1st 2020

The State of VPN Usage in Singapore

A VPN allows private communications via the Internet. Businesses transmitting proprietary information use a VPN to protect data from external eyes. Trade secrets, customer databases, and internal procedures might all need protection from prying eyes. In Singapore, VPN technology is legal and used in a variety of industries. Schools might unlock portions of a video, and libraries might do the same, to provide reviews and educational content. Even though VPNs came under fire during investigations leading to a proposed change to copyright law in 2016, they remain legal in Singapore.

In the consumer market, the most common reason for using a VPN is to access restricted entertainment content. Out of all Internet users, 25% use a VPN to ensure private browsing, and more than 75% of the population in Singapore is online. Common usage has led to a robust VPN market. Globally, VPNs make up a 23.6 billion USD industry, with projections putting the market at 35.73 billion by 2022. Surveillance by the government is one of the leading reasons why many people are adding a VPN to their browsing process.

Is it Legal to Use a VPN in Singapore?

Accessing the Internet with a VPN is legal in Singapore, though there are restrictions on use cases. Using a VPN to access copyrighted content without permission is illegal, and the user could face prosecution. Singapore has robust intellectual property legislation, and a VPN is no guarantee against legal action.

Legitimate uses for a VPN might include providing a private login passageway for employees to access corporate data. Schools and other educational organizations may have special dispensation to use a VPN for learning. Individual consumers can use a VPN to improve their security and reduce the chances of being hacked. A VPN provides an additional layer of encryption and is a cost-effective option for users that need added security.

Why Use a VPN in Singapore?

A VPN offers a way around geoblocking, allowing international companies to operate effectively. Geoblocking limits access to sites from foreign users. A VPN allows access by routing traffic through a local server. 

In Singapore, censorship may impact some uses. For example, torrent sites and adult sites are censored at the government level. Businesses and individuals that need information through these avenues have limited access without the use of a VPN.

Digital privacy rights are not a legal mandate in Singapore, so only personal security practices protect your browsing history. Individuals and small businesses without access to excellent internal security might have every online action tracked by government agencies. ISP providers also trace user histories.

 

VPNs Victim of Legal Action

 

While a VPN offers end-to-end data encryption, it is essential to note that providers are under legal obligations. Like ISPs, many VPNs track user actions and can — and will — provide documentation if legally compelled. In 2015, M1, a Singapore-based telecom company, faced a situation where a High Court order forced the releases of hundreds of customer account logs. The subpoena was related to illegally downloading copies of the movie Dallas Buyers Club.

To ensure maximum protection, consumers should consider vendors that do not log customer data. After all, using a VPN is all about adding security to your communications. Private company data and private browsing that is not illegal should not be exposed. Especially when loosely interpreted subpoenas may impact customers that had no part in downloading illegal content.

Know The Risks

While a VPN offers extra protection for Internet users, it may also have risk factors. In addition to dozens of perfectly legal uses, bad actors also tend to use VPNs to disguise their IP address. The known proliferation of bad actors may lead to more scrutiny of VPN services from the Singapore government. Here are a few things to be aware of about VPN usage and risks.

 

Read the Fine Print

 

While many VPN companies advertise they don’t maintain customer logs, that doesn’t always mean total privacy. Some companies will still track logins and usage stats without tracking specific browsing history. Even login tracking can have legal implications. It may allow a third-party agency to make discoveries about business operations or your private life that do not violate the law, but are costly or embarrassing.

 

Know the Encryption Process

 

How a VPN handles encryption is a major factor when determining risk. Mass decryption is a possibility from agencies with enough computing power. No matter how good the encryption, a fast enough supercomputer can crack the security and expose your browsing history. While Singapore is not part of a formalized intel sharing agreement like the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes, surveillance is still an issue. The lack of privacy protection means that local government agencies may directly pursue citizen data.

Currently, Singapore is not a known offender. It has yet to take a spot on the “Enemies of the Internet” list produced by Reporters Without Borders. The government only enacts limited censorship designed solely to reduce piracy and limit adult content. However, a recent law passed with the stated intention of combating misinformation may be open to interpretation and abuse. Singapore might not be an “Enemy of the Internet,” but it has a spot on the “press-freedom index” with the government controlling much of the public narrative.

 

Beware of “Free” VPNs

 

A free VPN means you don’t pay a monthly fee to use the service. It doesn’t mean the company doesn’t need to generate revenue. When a VPN company doesn’t make direct revenue from subscribers, it must have alternate sources. With free VPNs, those alternative sources might include data mining on customers and aggressive, targeted advertising.

Internet Speed and VPN Accessibility

In Singapore, Internet connectivity is fast and readily available. Average peak speeds top 135 Mbps. In the United States, average speeds top out at only 57.3 Mbps. In much of Europe, the average peaks around 50 Mbps. Fast access means more rapid data transfer during low traffic times. Even the average connection speed is fast in Singapore at 12.5 Mbps, which is comparable to all developed nations with extensive Internet infrastructure.

VPN servers are legal in Singapore, so there are local servers that allow users to access regional sites. For example, a Singapore resident can use a VPN with local servers to gain access to Amazon and delivery in the region. At the same time, they also bounce IP addresses to avoid geoblocking on streaming services and other entertainment options.

Wrapping Up

When buying server space from companies with a reputation for integrity and an ethical approach to customer privacy, a VPN is an affordable and effective way to enhance security. The government in Singapore may have direct access to all communications without encryption, making it a solid choice for anyone who prefers to keep their online activity private. When selecting a VPN provider, look for services that advertise a “no logging” policy and take a look at the guarantee. Transparency in policies is always preferred for companies selling privacy.

Detailed Information About Singaporean VPNs in 2020

Singaporean Flag

Continent: Asia

Capital: Singapore

Primary Official Language: Mandarin

Population:

Domain Extension: .sg

Country Details

GDP:
$274,700,000,000

Local Google Domain: google.com.sg

Government Type:
Parliamentary republic

# of Mobile Phones:
8106700

# of Mobile Phones Rank
Unknown

Internet Penetration:
Unknown

Global % of Pop w/ Internet Rank :
28%

Internet Stats

# of Users:

Users Global Rank
78

Avg Speed:
12.5 Mb/s

Avg Peak Speed:
135.4 Mb/s

Above 4Mbps %:
87%

Above 10Mbps %:
51%

Above 15Mbps %:
27%

Censorship Details

Political Sites:
No

Social Media Sites:
No

Adult Sites:
Yes

Pirate Bay:
Yes

14 Eyes Status:
No

Enemy of the Internet?
Unknown

Data & Security

Data Privacy Status:
Robust

Data Protection Agency:
Personal Data Protection Commission

Data Retention Required?
Unknown

Data Retention Period
Unknown

Data Protection Officers Required?
Yes

Breach Notifications Required?
No

Financial Stats

Credit Card Payment %:
46

Prepaid Card Payment %:
9

Mobile Payment %
13

Bank Transfer Payment %
1

E-Wallet Payment %
31

Travel Details

Address:
3501 International Place, NW, Washington DC 20008

Email:
singemb_was@sgmfa.gov.sg

Phone
001-1-(202) 537-3100

# of Global Embassy Consulates:
Unknown

Learn About Singaporean VPN Services and Internet Access

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