Virtual Phone Numbers: Are They Legal?
It’s amazing how you can get your own virtual number for as low as $10 per month thanks to Telnum! But it must be too good to be true, right?
Thinking about everything that VoIP has to offer, there must be something shady going on. Perhaps that’s what’s going on inside your head, and we’re here to address this concern.
If you want to be sure you’re not crossing any legal lines by having and using VoIP numbers, keep reading.
Why are people using it?
Calling internationally used to be expensive. But since you can get a number from practically any place you want, you don’t have to pay this cost anymore.
It’s more flexible
Work stations and organizational structures are always changing, and you don’t want to be stuck with a static system that isn’t able to adapt to your needs. That’s not a problem if you have a virtual number.
Plus, you can easily hire people from any place because all you need is the internet to connect.
It’s extremely feature-rich
Because it’s on the internet, the potential features are endless. All someone needs to do is create one for the market, and it’s there perpetually.
The best part? It’s so much cheaper than getting the landline version.
The million-dollar question: Is it legal?
Put simply, these are technically legal in every part of the world. This means that you won’t necessarily get into legal trouble if you’ve been found to own one. It’s perfectly okay!
But there have been issues with how some groups have been utilizing VoIP numbers and technology in general. In fact, it’s now being seen as a real problem that the United Nations already has at least one document to legitimize the issue.
For example, some extremists in Mumbai have been using it. The same goes for common criminals.
With non-fixed VoIP, you can get a number from a lot of different countries without presenting proof of address. Apps like Freeje Optimum even allow you to get one using their app.
The problem is this level of anonymity affords anyone regardless of intentions more room before they get traced (if it’s at all possible).
So although a large part of the world doesn’t have any kind of regulation on it, there are already some that have taken some steps to secure the tech against all kinds of abuse.
What have various governments done to prevent misuse of virtual numbers?
For the most part, there have been three main actions that have been done for this: regulation, restriction, and banning.
In order to establish VoIP as permanent telecom infrastructure, the United States of America have regulated VoIP to:
- Comply with emergency services. This means it should be able to route to landline numbers and transmit locations.
- Adhere to Local Number Portability Rules
- Set the limits by which the provider can use the customer’s information.
- Require providers to contribute to the expansion of communication infrastructure
But not everything is regulated. For example, you’d still be in charge of ensuring there’s a backup source in case the power goes out.
Instead of setting up requirements to keep both sides of the transaction happy, other countries resort to restricting either the use or the number of options.
In the Caribbean, Belize, and Brazil, you’d still be able to use your VoIP number. But you’ll need to go to a local provider because everyone else is banned.
But other countries take a different approach. Compared to the local cost of living, calls going to Cuba are extremely pricey. On top of limited phones and a slow internet connection, this makes it harder for people to use the tech.
Meanwhile, other countries just slow down the internet connection of their citizens when using VoIP sites and apps. That way, even though it’s technically allowed, they still won’t be able to use it. This is the case for South Korea and a few other nations.
Others ban VoIP outright, preventing anyone from using it. Kuwait, North Korea, Pakistan, and many other countries take this approach.
But don’t get mistaken. It’s still not illegal to have virtual numbers here. Considering the local policy, chances are you just won’t be able to use them.
This is usually done in the name of national security, but some take a less harsh approach of heavily surveilling everything.
To get past the government actions that are limiting the availability of VoIP, some have found that using VPN does the trick. But the odds are this won’t be an issue at all.
Most countries have fully embraced VoIP as the next step in the evolution of the telecommunications sector. So for as long as you’re not using your virtual number for any illegal activity, you don’t have anything to worry about.
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