Can You Go To Jail For Opening Blocked Websites?

Can you go to jail by just visiting a blocked website? The answer is both Yes & No. This is a very intriguing and by some standard very weird question. But then we at times stumble upon such topics now and then. In this article, we will look at internet laws of various countries, so that we can discuss where accessing a certain blocked website is banned by law and where it is allowed.

Can you really go behind the bars for accessing a blocked website?

Access to the internet(access to data for that matter) is considered to be one of the basic human rights as it falls under the right to freedom of expression. Basic Internet Access and Privacy for each individual is considered very in this age of Information Technology. However many countries have different laws and restrictions on the use of the internet.

You can be jailed in certain countries for accessing blocked/banned websites and this is a kind of harsh truth. In many countries, there are some high fines applied to individuals who are caught visiting some websites which are banned as per that country’s law.  

Before we look at individual country internet restriction let’s have a look at what is banned by the majority of the countries worldwide.

  1. Child pornography or websites containing anything exploiting underaged children are banned in most countries.
  2. Access to the dark web is also banned/restricted in most countries.
  3. Most of the countries regulate and scan their internet to ban/restrict any element that is against human rights.

countries with internet restrictions

Above restrictions, as we see are for the good and are followed by most countries bar some. Let’s look into some individual countries’ internet restrictions based on what they restrict which if not followed may land you behind jail bars.

Total Restriction on the Internet: North Korea has an almost total restriction of internet access to its citizens.

Restrictions on Torrent / Torrenting Websites: Torrents are used by millions of users to download various pirated and copyrighted content illegally. Countries that have imposed a ban on torrents include Russia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Japan, India, Spain, France, etc…

Restriction on Social Media: It’s surprising to see the no. of countries that have some kind/total restrictions on social media platforms considering the number of people who are active on these platforms. China leads the pack when it comes to social media restriction closely followed by  Turkmenistan & Eritrea. Partial Social Media restrictions have been imposed in Russia, Mongolia, Some Arab Countries, Brazil, Many African countries, etc.

Restriction on Media/News: Most of the dictatorship operated countries have banned media/news in some or other form. Heavy media & news website restrictions have been observed in China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela, & Congo, etc.

Restrictions on the use of VPN’s: Most of the restricted content can be accessed with the use of VPN’s. Some countries went a step ahead and banned the use of VPN. Countries include China, Russia, Iraq, and Iran. Partial VPN bans have been imposed in Turkey, Oman, Lithuania, and  Turkmenistan, etc.

Internet Restrictionists are quite varied. Some restrictions/ban such as a ban on child pornography is for the betterment of society. Child Pornography is a criminal offense and a practice that has to be stopped completely. Also, some countries restrict drug websites as they promote drug addiction.

However there are many instances where internet restriction are not fair. Many people in such countries use VPN & other methods such as unblocking proxy websites to get access to restricted content. We strongly recommend you to follow internet laws of country you are in. As such there are very bleak chances of getting caught but if you do then you might end up behind the bars.

Many people use VPNs for various purposes such as to protect their privacy on the internet which is quite fine. However many people especially students use VPNs to download pirated software and movies, we understand that and recommend not to.

can you go to jail for looking a website

However here are some tips for your internet safety:

Use Private Browsers – Use a private browser that will not save any footprint of what you are doing on your laptop.

Never Share Adult Content – Sharing your adult content is one of the biggest crimes that will take you into jail in almost all countries esp if someone complains about your sharing.

Never Save data on your harddisk – Also many users save data on their laptops or computers you should never that to esp pirated data.

Drugs Websites – Addictive Drugs is something very big after pornography. It’s illegal in most countries so visiting this website or doing shopping from them can lead you behind bars. These types of websites are on the radar of different government organizations.

Government Banned Website – The government ban lots of websites, They ask different IPS to block the website. But people use a proxy or other soft wares to watch that website. You may get into trouble if you caught while visiting that website.

Accessing Banned Website in Public Spaces: 90% of the people who have been jailed or caught accessing banned websites has been in public spaces. In case you need to access restricted content – never do it in public places – it’s a stupid idea really.

Do let us know in the comments if you have ever accessed any restricted content banned in your country? Just Kidding 🙂


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