Hey Lifehacker, It seems that VPNs are about to become a lot more attractive to Australian downloaders. Some claim not to keep any logs of any traffic or meta-data, but how can one trust that this is actually the case? It would be a perfect honeypot for a government agency or media organisation to set up and catch people specifically trying to hide their traffic. Would there be any recourse if that happened? Thanks, Paranoid Android
Picture: Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock
Short answer: You probably can’t trust anyone, unless you’re privy to absolutely every endpoint they have and their entire inner network infrastructure. Which they’re not exactly going to line up to show you. That’s an absolute kind of position, however, and back in the real world this is something we’ve looked at before.
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The tl;dr version of that is that while you can’t absolutely “trust” any given VPN that you don’t personally control, some VPNs are far more open in their policy documents about what they do and don’t track and where they’re operating, which at least gives you a starting point for developing some level of trust.
Yes, there’s a risk inherent in using a VPN that it might be a government honeypot, but that’s a somewhat nebulous risk in terms of your overall data usage.
If you’re concerned, it’s almost always going to be a lesser risk than the now-passed metadata legislation, which will most certainly be harvesting data as a matter of law.
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