NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services due to its user-friendly app and its commitment to providing a secure connection even when you’re on the move.
However, the VPN service has a dark side — one that forces users to endure Blackouts when connecting to certain countries. The situation is made worse by the fact that NordVPN doesn’t offer any explanation as to why these Blackouts happen. In short, there’s no transparency when it comes to VPN and its service providers, leaving users to question whether or not their personal data is really protected.
A Growing Number of Blackouts
In a nutshell, NordVPN Blackouts happen when you try to connect to a country which is blacklisted by the service. If you live in Ireland for example, you can’t access NordVPN’s servers when in Ireland. The same goes for the other countries that fall under the “blackout list”.
The number of countries and areas that fall under the Blackout list has increased over the years. As of now (September, 2020), NordVPN blacklists 28 countries, which makes up almost 60% of its user base. In 2019, the number of countries on the list was 27, and it was 24 in 2018.
While some users may not mind having to use a VPN to access certain websites or services, others are upset over the lack of transparency. Moreover, many users are finding that their VPN provider blacklists a growing number of countries, making it harder for them to access content when traveling or moving to a foreign country.
What Are The Reasons For The VPN Blackout?
There are several reasons why NordVPN might block access to certain countries or areas, but none of them make much sense. First off, it blocks access to countries which forbid the export of digital currency. Second, it blocks countries that have high levels of spam activity. Third, it blocks countries with restrictive rules around the use of VPNs. Fourth, it’s based in the UK, which has an awful lot of surveillance cameras.
While there’s no doubt that some of the countries which fall under the NordVPN Blackout are questionable in terms of privacy and security, none of these reasons are remotely acceptable. The truth is that we don’t know why certain countries are blacklisted by the VPN service, and it’s quite frustrating for users who want to access content when traveling or moving to a new country.
Growing Number Of Complaints
In addition to the lack of transparency, many users have complained about the sudden and often unexplained nature of the Blackouts. The situation is made worse by the fact that VPNs are a personal area, which many users feel very insecure about. Because the VPN service doesn’t offer any clarity or explanation, users are often left wondering whether or not their personal data is safe.
The complaints are starting to pile up, with many users accusing NordVPN of acting in an “unfair” manner and for “sabotaging” users’ experiences. It’s not hard to see why, since there’s really no clear explanation as to why some countries are blacklisted by the service.
Transparency Is Key
To be fair to NordVPN, the company has taken some steps to ensure that its users are more transparent. For example, the VPN service now includes a warning when you try to connect to a country which is blacklisted, providing a small hint as to why this is happening. Moreover, the company has stated that it will include more detailed information about the blacklists in the future.
At the very least, the warning is a small step in the right direction (albeit, it’s still not good enough). More importantly, transparency is key when it comes to protecting user data and ensuring that everyone (including the developers) acts in good faith. Unfortunately, while transparency is wonderful in theory, it doesn’t always work in practice, and that’s why we need to be cautious when it comes to any sort of data privacy or security matter.
In a nutshell, NordVPN has done a lot of things right, but it still has a long way to go before it can be considered a trustworthy and reliable service. Right now, the VPN service is failing its users on multiple fronts, and it’s not hard to see why. In the meantime, it’s probably best to avoid accessing sensitive information (like bank details) while using the VPN.