Most of the websites available on the internet try deceptive practices to grow their brands. One area where it is more prevalent is the VPN industry. In a report, it was revealed that 26 of the top 120 VPN companies saves user data. The data are then marketed and sold to other companies. EU’s GDPR Law might help reduce the numbers but the VPN industry is trying to find a way out. Regarding user data leakage and selling, VPN companies are the biggest reason for it. Some companies even offer the users quite a few bucks to enable the VPN in their mobile phones.
What Are VPN?
VPN is used as an alternative to the ISPs. They provide more security than the regular ISPs. They unblock the blocked websites and anonymize the internet we use when enabled. VPN is generally used by the people to protect their identity on the internet. But, it is falsely assumed that the data is not stored anywhere. The companies which offer VPN can keep track of our activities we perform when the VPN is enabled.
Recently, a VPN company helped FBI in arresting Ryan Lin through his internet activities. He thought that his internet activities were private since he had the VPN enabled but the company stored a log of his data. When requested by FBI, the company handed over the user log to them which led to the arrest. In a larger place, the user data are sold to other companies which are clearly mentioned in the Terms And Conditions page but no one bothers to read them. The famous company, Hotspot Shield having 500 million downloads are a culprit of this activity. Further, Hola and Betternet also do the same with the user data it collects.
How The Free VPN Company Works?
While most of the users think that by using the VPN service they are well protected but little do they know that their data is logged and sold to third party companies. A petition was filed against Hotspot Shield by CDT (Center for Democracy and Technology). It stated that the Android application was accused of data sharing activities with third party companies. They are also accused of hijacking the user traffics and redirecting them to affiliated websites. Hola, another famous free VPN service provider is commonly known as providing NetFlix for free. But little do the user knows that whenever they turn the VPN on, the company sells their bandwidth. The worst of all is the Betternet which offers free VPN for android users. They have paid plans too but little does the user know that they have 14 tracking libraries which is the highest for any VPN network company.
Why Do The Company Logs User Data?
The simple law on the internet which works is “If you are not buying the product, you become the product”. Most of the VPN companies sell user data to handle the costly server price which they have to pay owing to the number of users. Another obvious reason is that if the company is offering its service for free, it has to earn in some way.
To avoid your data being sold, you can set up your own VPN in the cloud or use any open source VPN. This might be difficult and time-consuming but will increase your privacy protection.