0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
A VPN secures your computer’s Internet connection so that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and never logged, therefore protecting you from snooping......As research conducted last year in Sweden suggests, the more surveillance fears increase, the more Internet users gravitate toward using VPNs. We can therefore expect VPNs to become more mainstream over the next few years, as surveillance issues gain traction and media attention. However, this will also lead to many companies taking advantage of the situation and offering VPN services that are not privacy-oriented and will not protect Internet users from the overbearing surveillance they are trying to escape.This is not news. In fact, one of the most popular VPNs on the market, HideMyAss.com, has proven itself to offer no protection from government surveillance. Back in 2011, HideMyAss was forced to hand over data logs belonging to a member of hacker group Lulzsec to the US authorities. There is no point, at least from a privacy perspective, of using a VPN if it’s retaining data. If you retain data, then you’re compelled by law to hand it over when requested. The way VPNs get around this rule is by wiping logs as soon as they’re created......If you decide to use a VPN for privacy reasons, then these are the key questions you need to ask:1. What is the company’s data retention policy? – If the small print says they keep logs of their users’ information, then stay away. But many companies aren’t forthcoming about this information. If you can’t find an answer, contact the VPN and ask them. Do not sign up unless they reply that they don’t keep logs.2. Where is the company based and what will it do with your data? – It’s always worth checking what the laws are regarding data retention and surveillance within the country where your VPN is headquartered. Law enforcement could still seize servers located in different countries, but as long as the VPN is not logging traffic, a users’ identity wouldn’t be compromised.3. What will the company do if laws change? – We’re in the middle great changes when it comes to surveillance laws. If a country introduces new data retention laws, then a VPN will have to comply. Any privacy service worth its salt should be ready and willing to re-locate if needed.
More than a year ago TorrentFreak took a look at a selection of the web’s VPN providers to see which ones really take privacy seriously. During the months that followed we received dozens of emails begging us to carry out an update and today here it is. The first installment in our list of VPN providers that due to their setup cannot link user activity to external IP addresses and activities.boxedPrompted by a high-profile case of an individual using an ‘anonymous’ VPN that turned out to offer less than expected protection, TorrentFreak decided to ask a selection of VPN companies some tough questions.With our findings we compiled a report of providers that due to their setup were unable to link their outbound IP addresses with user accounts. Ever since we have received countless emails demanding an update.It’s taken a long time but today we bring the first installment in a series of posts highlighting VPN providers that take privacy seriously. Our first article focuses on anonymity and a later installment will highlight file-sharing aspects and possible limitations.We tried to ask direct questions that left providers with little room for maneuver. Providers who didn’t answer our questions directly, didn’t answer at all, or completely failed by logging everything, were simply left out. Sadly this meant that quite a few were disregarded.This year we also asked more questions, which are as follows:1. Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you or a 3rd party to match an IP-address and a time stamp to a user of your service? If so, exactly what information do you hold?2. Under what jurisdictions does your company operate and under what exact circumstances will you share the information you hold with a 3rd party?3. In the event you receive a DMCA takedown notice or European equivalent, how are these handled?4. Which payment systems do you operate and how are these linked to individual user accounts?The list of providers is a tiny sample of the thousands out there today and is not comprehensive by any means. Providers not covered this time around will be added during the coming weeks. All responses listed below are in the words of the providers themselves and the order of the list does not carry any meaning.