The UAE has topped the list of countries for the highest virtual private network (VPN) adoption rate, with six out of 10 residents downloading a VPN application in 2020.
Data from Atlas VPN research showed that 6.1 million VPN applications were downloaded by 9.89 million UAE residents last year.
Apart from the UAE, VPN was also popular in the other Gulf countries.
Qatar saw the second highest adoption rate at 53 per cent, with 1.52 million downloads by 2.88 million residents.
Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait came third, fourth and fifth at 35.36 per cent, 28.96 per cent and 22.36 per cent, respectively.
Though the use of VPN is not illegal in the UAE, its misuse is a serious offence and punishable with a fine of up to Dh2 million and imprisonment.
Moreover, using VPN by hiding the IP address to get access to websites, calling and gaming applications which are blocked by the UAE government is illegal.
Technology experts have warned that the UAE residents who download VPNs for free compromise their data and security because many of these firms are not trustable and sell data to third parties to make money.
The Atlas research ranked 85 countries in terms of VPN usage in 2020. The VPN penetration rate was calculated by summing up VPN downloads by country and dividing them by the country’s population.
The VPN download data is extracted from Google Play Store and Apple App Store using the Sensor Tower service.
Top 5 countries for VPN downloads:
>> UAE: 6.1 million
>> Qatar: 1.5 million
>> Oman: 1.8 million
>> Saudi Arabia: 2.2 million
>> Azerbaijan: 2.2 million
Timofeeva and Makarova exit but Sramkova and Hatouka remain on course for last eight stage
The system is in line with the country’s climate adaptation programme with a people-centred approach