Florida Top VPN, Legality, Stats, and Recommendations
The State of VPN Usage in Florida
There’s no doubt as to how effective a VPN is when it comes to privacy protection and enhanced online security. Due to the prevalence of cybercrime in the state of Florida, a VPN can help you keep your data private.
Florida is a common target for cyber thieves. According to Seculore, there were over 10 reported cyberattacks in 2018 and over 20 in 2019. Not to mention a very recent attack in February 2020, which used ransomware to infect the North Miami Beach Police Department’s computer systems. While the authorities were able to shut down affected computers immediately and remove the ransomware, the fact that a cyberattack was even possible is decidedly concerning.
Whether you’re currently residing in Florida or are planning to travel to the state any time soon, using a VPN will help you secure your connection and protect your personal information. But that’s not where the benefits of a VPN end. In addition to enhanced security, it also has the ability to bypass geographical restrictions on certain content. You’ll also be able to remain completely anonymous and prevent any data collection by your ISP.
If you’re thinking of using a VPN for all your online activities and want to learn more about potential advantages, keep reading. Here I’ll be covering everything you need to know about using a VPN in Florida.
Is it Legal to Use a VPN in Florida?
Using a VPN is perfectly legal in Florida, as is the case with the rest of the US. You can be located in Miami, Orlando, Tampa — it doesn’t make any difference.
However, that’s not to say that a VPN grants you permission to engage in online activities that are illegal. For example, using a VPN to encrypt your connection and safeguard your personal data from cyber thieves is legal. On the other hand, torrenting copyrighted material would still be considered illegal.
There’s an important point that isn’t mentioned very often in connection with the use of VPNs. While there’s no legal restriction to prevent you from accessing geo-blocked content from Netflix, Hulu, etc., doing so is often regarded as a breach of Terms of Service. Simply put, attempting to access content with a VPN can result in the suspension of your account. Of course, that’s only if the company detects the use of a VPN. In such circumstances, the decision to use a VPN and potentially put your account at risk is entirely your call.
But to answer the original question — yes, the use of a Florida VPN is legal.
Why Use a VPN in Florida?
As the third most populated state in the US, Florida is frequently targeted by cybercrime perpetrators. This makes using a VPN not only sensible, but essential to maintaining your privacy. Over the past decade, a large number of cyberattacks have been reported in cities including Miami, Jacksonville, and Orlando.
Between 2017 and 2020, there were:
- Seven cyberattacks that targeted educational institutions.
- 15 cyberattacks that targeted healthcare and other medical institutions.
- Over 40 cyberattacks that targeted local government organizations.
- 10 cyberattacks that targeted public safety services.
That’s over 70 cyberattacks in a three-year period, making cybercrime a major concern for Floridians. A February 2020 attack was aimed at the North Miami Beach Police Department. The authorities reported the ransomware cyberattack on a Tuesday evening. While investigations into the attack suggested that no public safety services were affected, the lack of security that made the attack possible is concerning.
There were at least three attacks in the month preceding the February attack, which targeted different government departments and organizations. On January 30, a malware attack affected the Parks and Recreation Department in Port St. Lucie. On that occasion, only a small number of records were exposed. Another phishing attack occurred on January 6 and targeted the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. One of the administration’s employees was the victim of the attack. The perpetrators were able to partly or fully access enrollees’ details, such as their full names, birthdates, addresses and Medicaid ID numbers. A total of around 30,000 records were exposed as part of the phishing attack.
These are only a few examples of the cyberattacks that have taken place over the past three years. Considering the prevalence of cybercrime in Florida, it comes as no surprise that so many residents and travelers elect to use a VPN at all times.
The Benefits of Using a VPN in Florida
A VPN isn’t only a powerful defense against cyber thieves, it’s also a means of making browsing the Internet, streaming movies, and playing games far more enjoyable. It all comes down to a VPN’s ability to encrypt your connection and personal information. Here are the four of the most important benefits of using a VPN in Florida:
Keep Your Personal Information Secure
Every time you access the Internet, you’re sending some of your data over the connection. Most of the time, this data won’t be adequately encrypted or properly secured against cyber criminals.
If you’re not familiar with how a VPN works, here’s what you need to know. A VPN allows you to safely and privately connect to the Internet by routing your connection through a secure server. In the process, your IP address is concealed and replaced with an IP address from the VPN server, which can be anywhere in the world. To anyone who sees your IP address, it will look like you’re in a completely different location. Let’s say you’re based in Tallahassee or Tampa and choose to route your connection through a server in Alabama. With the use of a VPN, an Alabama IP address will replace your Florida one.
In addition, a VPN ensures any data you send is encrypted, often with military-grade 256-bit encryption. If anyone intercepts your data, including your ISP, they will only be able to see encrypted information. The raw data will not be visible to anyone.
In short, a VPN is an exceptionally effective way to make connecting to the Internet safe and stress-free, no matter where you are in Florida.
Avoid Data Collection by Your ISP
ISPs have been spying on individuals for years. The fact of matter is, everything you do online is stored as a record on a server located somewhere in the world. In other words, your ISP collects and stores every bit of data that you transmit when you connect to the Internet. Examples of information that your ISP may collect are:
- Your browsing history.
- What apps you use on your smartphone.
- What you’re reading if you’re using an app like Amazon Kindle.
And if that’s not concerning enough, your ISP is obligated to share all this information with the government, if requested. The US is part of the “Five Eyes”, “Nine Eyes” and “Fourteen Eyes” international surveillance agencies. They collect surveillance data in mass, which they then share with other countries from the alliance. It’s not a pretty picture, but the good news is that a VPN can protect your private information.
A VPN prevents ISP data harvesting by using end-to-end encryption, which is known as tunneling. Anyone snooping on your traffic won’t be able to determine what information you’re exchanging with the VPN server.
To illustrate how this works, imagine you’re trying to access a website called 123.com. What would normally happen is, you’d make a request to your ISP that says “I’m visiting 123.com”. With a VPN, you’re actually sending an encrypted message to the VPN server that says “Can you fetch the data for 123.com for me?” However, the message is encrypted. Thus, your ISP can’t read its contents, making data collection impossible.
Avoid Bandwidth Caps
Ever dealt with unusually slow connection speeds? Welcome to the world of bandwidth throttling.
Bandwidth throttling occurs when your ISP chokes off your connection to reduce your data usage. This often happens because ISPs have a certain data capacity across their servers. Sometimes they’re not able to meet the demands of their customers. So to keep costs low, they throttle some users’ connections (rather than invest in better servers). They’ll target those who use websites or apps that require a lot of data to operate, such as video streaming services.
A VPN encrypts your connection and doesn’t tell your ISP what you’re actually doing online or how much bandwidth you’re using. This means they won’t be able to know if you’re streaming high-definitions TV shows or playing online games with your pals.
You’ll be able to enjoy using as much or as little bandwidth as you like without any risk of throttling.
Gain Access to Regionally Blocked Content
Ever wanted to watch a movie or play a game that wasn’t available to you because of your location? Many service providers, including Netflix and the PlayStation Network, restrict access to certain content based on location. Thus, someone in Jacksonville — or anywhere else in the US — won’t be able to access content from, say, the UK. This happens because the service provider doesn’t have a license for its content in that country. So they’ll allow access to that content only to users located in countries where they have a license.
Fortunately, a VPN can bypass geographical restrictions and bring you all the content you want from around the world. A word of caution, though. Using a VPN is against the Terms of Service of certain companies, such as Netflix. There’s a chance you may end up having your account suspended if they detect the use of a VPN.
Internet Speed and VPN Accessibility
If Internet speed is important to you, then you’ll be pleased to know that Florida doesn’t disappoint. Internet availability is generally high throughout the state, though actual speeds will vary depending on where you’re located. The average Internet speed is a respectable 26 Mbps, which is considered reasonably fast for most online activities. Speeds of over 100 Mbps are available in 23 percent of the state.
If where you live in Florida has slower speeds, VPN has the ability to quicken your connection if the right protocol is used. Protocols that prioritize speed will deliver exceptionally fast connections, but there’s a catch. They don’t offer the best level of privacy.
Some protocols offer a great level of privacy but slow speeds, while others provide equally satisfactory privacy and speed performance.
A VPN will keep your personal information protected from both cyber criminals and surveillance agencies. It offers a layer of security that will safeguard your privacy against third parties, whatever their intentions may be.
Don’t forget that you’ll need to spend some time looking for a VPN provider that addresses your unique needs. Not all VPNs are made equal, so it’s important to pick one that offers all the features that are important for you. Whether that be complete anonymity, faster Internet speeds, or just exceptional security, the right solution is out there. Finding the right VPN all comes down to what matters the most to you.