Legal environment: United States


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The following part is for informational purposes only. Nym core team cannot provide comprehensive legal advice across all jurisdictions. Knowledge and experience with the legalities are being built up with the help of our counsel and with you, the community of Nym node operators. We encourage Nym node operators to join the Node Operator and Operators Legal Forum channels on Element to share best practices and experiences.

Note: The information shared below is in the stage of conclusions upon final confirmation. The text is a not edited exert from a legal counsel. Nym core team is asking for more clarifications.

The US legal counsel have so far provided the following advice:

The legal risk faced by VPN operators subject to United States jurisdiction depends on various statutes and regulations related to privacy, anonymity, and electronic communications. The key areas to consider are: intermediary liability and exceptions, data protection, copyright infringement, export controls, criminal law, government requests for data and assistance, and third party liability.

As outlined in Part A, the United States treats VPNs as telecommunications networks subject to intermediary liability protection from wrongful conduct that occurs on its network. However, such protections do have exceptions including criminal law and copyright claims that are worth considering. In the United States, I am not aware of an individual ever being prosecuted or convicted for running a node for a dVPN or a Privacy Enhancing Network.

However, as discussed in Part B-C, VPN operators are subject to law enforcement requests for access or assistance in obtaining access to data relevant to an investigation into allegedly unlawful conduct that was facilitated by the network as an intermediary. As shown in Part C, governments may also request assistance from node operators for certain high-level and national security targets.

Finally, as outlined in Parts D-G, VPN operators may also be subject to non-criminal liability including (Part D) failing to respond to notices under the DMCA, (Part E) privacy and data protection law, (Part F) third party lawsuits stemming from wrongful acts committed using the network, and (G) export control violations.