Can You Trust Your VPN?

Image: iStock

I suspect many people will be questioning the terms and conditions of their VPN service after revelations that the supposedly non-existent logs of one provider were used to track an alleged criminal.

The case of Ryan S Lin from Massachusetts is one that could have broad impact. Apparently, the FBI were able to catch Lin after using logs from his VPN provider, PureVPN.

As many Lifehacker readers have noted, one of the main use-cases for using a VPN is to ensure the privacy of your communications. And most people choose a VPN service because they don’t log their traffic.

If guilty, Lin’s crimes deserve to be punished. He is accused of being a relentless cyber-stalker who stole personal information and engaged in doxing his victims.

But if service providers we trust aren’t sticking to their own promises then it’s hard to know who to trust.

If you’re using PureVPN, will this cause you to shift to another provider?

WATCH MORE: Tech News

Comments

    If you’re using PureVPN, Will this cause you tk shift to another provider?

    G'day Anthony, I'd like to point out that there are 2 typos in the above sentence: a capital letter W and the "tk"... :)

    And to answer your question, no, there is no way that I would use PureVPN. I'm with the only VPN provider in the industry that uses a shared IP address system where my browsing activity can’t be singled out, and the only provider that fully owns and physically controls its entire network and servers, meaning that no third parties are involved, so their “zero logs” policy actually means zero logs!

      Hey Vanity,
      Mind if I ask which VPN provider you're referring to?

    Considering I was aware of PureVPN keeping logs before I signed up, I see so reason to change. I recall reading during my research that logs may be kept... I wonder if PureVPN's policy has changed since I signed.

    On the whole I find the service works well.

    Here is an abstratct from their curent policy "Information Sharing and Disclosure

    PureVPN specifically chose Hong Kong (HK) for its headquarter because there are "No Mandatory Data Retention Laws" in Hong Kong

    We are therefore, not legally obliged to store user data and share it with anyone. Since PureVPN is committed to freedom, and doesn't support crime, we will only share information with authorities having valid subpoenas, warrants, other legal documents or with alleged victims having clear proof of any such activity. It goes without saying that we will only do so in the best interest of our customers and our company. When and if a competent court of law orders us or an alleged victim requests us (that we rigorously self-assess) to release some information, with proper evidence, that our services were used for any activity that you agreed not to indulge in when you agreed to our Terms of Service Agreement, then we will only present specific information about that specific activity only, provided we have the record of any such activity."

    Last edited 11/10/17 10:59 am

      https://www.purevpn.com/privacy-policy.php - "We Do Not monitor user activity nor do we keep any logs."

      Which isn't quite true, by their own admission, since they keep connection times. But the fact that the FBI were able to link a person to their VPN login and activities suggests that they might have more detailed logs than expected. Whether you care or not depends on what you want your VPN for, but if you're using it to avoid being identified, then PureVPN are clearly a bad pick.

    Clearly PureVPN has been exposed as making a substantial lie

    As one newspaper mentions:
    Federal agents then contacted PureVPN, which provided "records" of Lin's activity. Specifically, the records showed that Lin used PureVPN to access an e-mail account he used to harass Smith from two locations: his home and work addresses.

    against:

    We Do Not monitor user activity nor do we keep any logs. We therefore have no record of your activities such as which software you used, which websites you visited, what content you downloaded, which apps you used, etc. after you connected to any of our servers. Our servers automatically record the time at which you connect to any of our servers. From here on forward, we do not keep any records of anything that could associate any specific activity to a specific user.

    And although all public VPN providers are likely doing the exact same thing, this is going to have to hurt PureVPN's business.

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