TorrentFreak published an article about how youngsters go and buy a VPN as a response to tough legislation and increasing levels of online spying. Although the blog is welcoming people to the encrypted internet, VPNs may not always provide a perfect solution for those who would like to escape eyes, ears and the sometimes long arm of the law:
1. TorrentFreak itself pointed readers to the fact that some VPN providers actually log data correlating IP addresses used and IP addresses or financial information of their customers;
2. Some VPN providers already have general provisions indicating that they will act against illegal activities and take action against their subscribers if needed;
3. Most VPN providers make clear that they will abide to the laws of the country where they’re residing;
4. Several VPN providers provide services of low quality (low traffic speed) and have started working with bandwidth caps;
5. As VPN subscriptions tend to cost money, it becomes more and more relevant to know just who is operating your VPN service. Most VPN providers do not have a meaningful ‘About Us‘ section on their website and sometimes it turns out that the operators of the service may not be the most reliable of people who – for example – could run off with your financial details or use the information about your potentially illegal internet use against you.
It remains to be seen whether VPNs offer a solid, scalable, cost-effective and reliable alternative for internet users on the long run. It is highly likely that increasing numbers of VPN users will either result in more rules, regulations and restrictions for VPN providers, or – if VPN providers choose to operate from “rogue” territories – blocking of the VPN providers’ IP ranges by governments and perhaps even by regular internet service providers, whenever they’re suffering from the consequences of the lack of accountability which sometimes is a consequence of anonymity.
It will all depend on the scale and seriousness of any illegal acts undertaken by VPN users and the extent to which governments and internet service providers are willing to put up with these “safe havens”.
Just look at how many online services are currently prohibiting the use of disposable e-mail addresses or transactions from “rogue” territories, something even VPN providers have started to do: