PIA Private Internet Access Review

edited September 20 in General Privacy Discussion Posts: 10
https://restoreprivacy.com/private-internet-access-review/

NOT MY REVIEW

A good percentage of sells will now depend on this website. Whenever anyone types in google "pia review" or "private internet access review", this is the very first site (ignoring ad links) they will see. Of course, sells also comes from word of mouth or ads, but its always important to have good reviews and this one is pretty bad.

First, I did the tests he performed and I see 0 leaks on my end. Of course, I disabled ipv6 and it will always be disabled. I'm no internet/network geek but I don't even see the point of it so I stick with ipv4.

I wont say the review is incorrect. Lets face it, there was a point when support just wasn't answering us and he stated that and backed it up with screenshots on forum posts. But times change. I'm not sure why he was getting leaks. Perhaps an old version or something else but I check daily and never see any leaks.

The person who wrote this is on the forums. He made very good points but the product can change and improve over time. I completely agree about support at the time (but not now) and I agree that its an issue that pia is located in the USA. But I see 0 leaks.

I just thought I'd bring this up.

Post edited by Xellon on

Comments

  • Posts: 62
    VPN reviews are useless overall.
  • Agreed.   Today, IPV4 is of little use to most consumers, but over time it is inevitable that the open net will move towards IPV6, and which point you'll want to enable it, as IPV6 emulation via IPV4 does not work for everything.
  • Posts: 600
    jbis said:
    VPN reviews are useless overall.
    If you'd said, "Most VPN reviews are useless overall" we'd have something to agree on because most of them are promoting companies with referral links they're generating revenue from. Any objectivity just goes right out the window.

    So how have you demonstrated any objectivity? Apparently not by checking out the reviewers site. As has so often been the case with you before, you're making a blanket statement. In this case it's also one that doesn't seem to apply to this review and the reviewer himself. If you'd take the time to see what he's published you might form a different conclusion. Instead you once again just respond with your classic knee-jerk reaction.

    The PIA review linked to is reasonably accurate and it's certainly consistent my my own PIA experience. I can say the same of several other of his reviews that I checked out.

    One might also reasonably conclude that the reviewer is reasonably objective given that he's not using any referral links (at least that I've found so far).
  • Posts: 62
    VPN reviews are useless overall.





  • Posts: 387
    jbis said:
    VPN reviews are useless overall.
    Just repeating that won't really make any difference to get your point through.

    I think VPN reviews are useful, when they're done properly (ie. not a random blog that just shills for a top 5 VPN list with the sole purpose of it being to draw traffic for that sweet ad money). There is value for people to know what kind of experience others have and what kind of issues they ran into. Even a negative review can be helpful, if for example it talks about a feature you don't care about.

    Even negative reviews for things that are not the fault of the VPN provider are helpful. For example, if an ISP censors or throttles PIA, it's useful for users to know about it.

    I wish more websites would do objective testing but networking being so complex, it's a lot to ask for. I do some testing every now and then for PIA and that alone is not a trivial task because you have to test multiple paths. I could just test from one of our servers to the other, but we use the same handful of providers for a lot of regions so of course we get solid connectivity between nodes most of the time. Because it's fast over say, Level3, it doesn't mean that ISPs that use Cogent aren't severely congested (that's an exemple, I've never had any trouble with either of those). That's the kind of stuff that would love to see in reviews, but I doubt anyone would bother doing this without being paid by the VPN providers for it.
  • Posts: 3
    How about this, @jbis comments are useless overall.
  • Posts: 387
    p9291535 said:
    How about this, @jbis comments are useless overall.
    Please stay civilized and stop provoking them. I'm getting tired of closing threads as they inevitably ends in back and forth of progressively stronger insults.
  • edited October 21 Posts: 62
    Max-P said:
    jbis said:
    VPN reviews are useless overall.
      There is value for people to know what kind of experience others have and what kind of issues they ran into.

      'journalistic' review in a very brief, just a couple of hours at most for most VPN reviews, is useless. If people want to know what the true user experience is, or kind of issues or operational usage others ran into who have used the VPN for periods of time, the VPN service user forums are vastly more useful as they reflect the user base employing the VPN in a variety of system and use conditions over longer periods of time instead of a single one-time-use snapshot in time of a few minutes to maybe a few hours of a 'journalistic' review.

    Max-P said:
    jbis said:
    VPN reviews are useless overall.
    I wish more websites would do objective testing but networking being so complex, it's a lot to ask for. I do some testing every now and then for PIA and that alone is not a trivial task because you have to test multiple paths. I could just test from one of our servers to the other, but we use the same handful of providers for a lot of regions so of course we get solid connectivity between nodes most of the time. Because it's fast over say, Level3, it doesn't mean that ISPs that use Cogent aren't severely congested (that's an exemple, I've never had any trouble with either of those). That's the kind of stuff that would love to see in reviews, but I doubt anyone would bother doing this without being paid by the VPN providers for it.

    They do not do objective testing of any type. At most its a "install - connect - look around - and then review" in a very short amount of time which does not reflect true usage in a variety of situations, environments, systems, and configurations. What people looking for a VPN need is reviews with objective testing that matches, or is similar, or gives information pertaining, to how they will use the VPN and not a 'journalistic' review persons 'very short' look at the cosmetics and 'basic operation'.

    Yes, VPN reviews are useless overall. That is the point. An intelligent person can see that VPN reviews are not reflective of true operational or functional effectiveness, and its impossible for them to be so because they do not employ objective testing, long term operational use and observation, qualified parameter and system environment use testing, and are overly subjective to the reviewer opinion, and more often than not VPN reviews are biased by 'personal and external influences'.

    For example, the review link the OP posted, in the review the reviewer specifically points to, and basically recommends, another VPN with which the reviewer apparently is involved and that is what he is, for his overall opinion recommendations, gauging PIA against in the end rather than gauging PIA for what it is in an objective testing manner of its attributes. That review is basically 'install - connect - look around - but there is another VPN I like better - then review', its biased. Then there is bias against PIA VPN in the beginning of the review with this:

    "Considering everything in this review, Private Internet Access is not the worst option – but it’s far from the best. If you are open to alternatives, you can check out the Best VPNs list for the top recommendations that have passed all privacy/security tests and are located in good privacy jurisdictions."

    A review should be objective and non-biased. So, still using this review for example purposes;  This review starts biased to begin with, in other words, in the reviewers opinion PIA is far from the best because its not located in what the reviewer considers a "good privacy jurisdiction" even though it passed their tests. But at the same time the reviewer ignores (or does not know) that the U.S. is the only country in the world which has actual constitutional protection (has to do with interference with commerce) against forcing a private company to do something that affects legitimate commerce for the company, like (in the case of PIA) implement logging. Yet the reviewer does not mention the other countries he mentions in the review do not include such a protection in their constitutions and can just walk in at any time and demand logging and force its use immediately and just because they have not done so does not mean they will not but instead refers to them as being located in "good privacy jurisdictions". So the larger bias of the review seems to be rooted in paranoia, and a review should be objective and non-biased and certainly should not start out trying to appeal to any certain emotional thing like paranoia. But this review starts out non-objective and biased and directly hits that paranoia string.

    then the reviewer says this:

    "In general, the United States is not the best jurisdiction when it comes to VPNs and privacy. This is due to:

    1. Mass government surveillance (NSA spying)
    2. Mass corporate surveillance (Google, Facebook, Verizon, Comcast and most US telecoms)
    3. Troubling copyright laws (Digital Millennium Copyright Act – DMCA)

    One major problem with the US is that government agencies will often issue “gag orders” to companies when they go in to take customer data/evidence. These gag orders forbid the company from saying anything or warning customers about what’s happening. Many large tech and telecom companies have also been working directly with the NSA for a number of years (see the Prism Program).

    As a general rule, it’s best to use a VPN that is based in a privacy-friendly country."

    Its a false logic argument because - 1) items 1 to 3 are not restricted to just the U.S. - 2) the "gag order" thing is unlikely to happen to a US based VPN company which rejects it due to constitutional protected commerce (see below this section in  the note) - 3) the 'prism' program collected internet communications from US internet companies. The PIA VPN, as well as any well designed and operated and properly operating VPN service in the US or not, doesn't allow data to be captured by the Prism program due to the encryption and all they will see is what they would see from any VPN service product even those outside the US.

    Then the other thing the reviewer says is also a flawed logic:

    "The other important factor to note is that data is regularly logged in the United States without anybody knowing about it (surveillance). The US government could legally force PIA to start logging their customers’ activity, while also slapping them with a gag order to prevent disclosure of this information. This is the main drawback with US-based VPNs."

    First, ISP's log all the time and its a well known fact and they will even tell you this, it is not a secret and anyone that cares to check will know it. It is not "surveillance". There is no proof that the Prism program, although it does exist, or any program, was in use at the time the review was written. Although it can not be guranteed in any way, and proof would likely be hard to get, the review is written in "absolute fact fashion" for this and no one really knows for a fact and neither does the reviewer.

    To cover the bases: Second,  its unlikely that the US government would try to force PIA to log customer activity. There has not been a single case, in any manner, via warrant canary or not, not even a hint, that the government has forced a US based VPN company to log. Its highly unlikely due to constitutional issues (see note below this section) that the government would try to force a US based VPN to log because the constitutional argument gives them justification to reject such and challenge it in court all the way to the Supreme Court so the public would know about it (yes, even for a FISA order).


    There is no guarantee or evidence that any VPN service based outside the US is more secure privacy wise than a US based VPN service. Overall these statements are false logic because those countries which in the reviewer opinion are in "good privacy jurisdictions" also have their own surveillance methods and there is no proof or guarantee that they are not being employed at or against VPN services based in those jurisdictions. Its a false logic because the reviewer assumes and presents it as fact when it may not be. Once again, lack of objectivity and presentation of bias.

    The presentation of these things by the reviewer is written in "absolutes fact" style as though its happening right now and is an absolute fact, and although the possibility exists in that anything is possible the logic is flawed in terms of review for the VPN and re-enforces the biased view the reviewer apparently intended. Every privacy "boogyman" scare that can be bought up is bought up in this review and feeds paranoia which is the basis of the reviewer bias the reviewer intended to invoke in this review to bias against PIA.

    (note: i'm not trying to discuss constitutionality here, there are cases where that may not affect what the government wants to do. But that it exists here in the US and does not in the other countries the reviewer mentioned is not covered by the blanket statements that are biased against PIA from the beginning of the review. An objective reviewer would have included this in some way if he/she, like this reviewer, was going to make it a main point as this review has done. Briefly; United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3  - the enumerated clauses) - "The Congress shall have power ... To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." > regulation apparently does not mean interference with (injury to) commerce. - A.L.A. Schecter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495, 55 S.Ct. 837 (1935) - in part relevance - SCOTUS - "The power of Congress extends, not only to regulation of transactions which are part of interstate commerce, but to the protection of that commerce from injury. Id., at 544". - government forcing or ordering VPN logging, even secretly, e.g. FISA order, would be injury to PIA commerce as their product is also sold based upon their claim of no logging and the government must protect commerce from injury. Its highly unlikely the government is going to fulfill the paranoia nightmare of having PIA log, and its highly unlikely the government will go through trying to change the constitution through SCOTUS decision to make a US based VPN service log. Its more unlikely that the US would force VPN logging than one of those other countries governments (in the review that are in a "good privacy jurisdiction" in the reviewer opinion) not wanting to walk in and force a VPN service based in those countries to log if they decide its necessary or simply want to and there is no constitutional protections there to argue or defend against it. At least in the US we can take it all the way to the Supreme Court based upon a constitutional infringement argument, those other countries have no such recourse.)

    Then the review has this little gem:

    "Most servers are located in the US, which provides different options when accessing US-restricted media."

    Yet on the map provided in the review, if you count the green dots, PIA does not have "Most servers" "located in the US" - with 10 in the US and the others located in other countries on the map making most PIA servers located in other countries and not the U.S. as the reviewer states. Such an obvious fact presented with the map, but what else does the reviewer not see or what else is he missing in his review of PIA? The reviewer can't count, or does he want to re-enforce his opinion idea in the mind of the reader that PIA is not, in his opinion, located in a "good privacy jurisdiction"? I do not claim to know what the reviewer was thinking there, but judging from the rest of the review, the beginning, and conclusion, its obvious there is a tone of bias in the rest of the review as well like that invoked by the paranoia shadow of PIA is not located in a "good privacy jurisdiction" and saying that "Most servers are located in the US" reinforces that and most people would not bother to count the dots and realize this contradiction in the review.

    Then the review ends with a conclusion of:

    "Private Internet Access is overall a mixed bag. If you’re looking for a cheap, decent VPN service, it’s worth considering. But there are other cheap options available that are also based in better jurisdictions for privacy, such as VPN.ac (review) and VyprVPN with this 25% discount (review)."

    Which basically restates his beginning pre-formed opinion just reworded some (in bold) by once again invoking the same paranoia shadow that PIA is not located in a "good privacy jurisdiction". In the very beginning the reviewer had already formed his opinion, he started out with an already formed opinion and writes the review that reached the conclusion to match his per-formed opinion rather than that based upon the VPN attributes. There was zero objectivity for this review, incorrect information (not only where most of the servers are located) and its biased. Apparently at least one person in this thread thinks that's a top-notch review and can't recognize a biased review with incorrect information. Some people read into things what they want it to say ('confirmation bias'), and some read it for what it actually says. What this review actually says is that the reviewer is biased from the beginning and has no objectivity, thus the review is, like other VPN reviews, useless being compromised by the reviewer bias. Overall the review is bias cloaked in the guise of "Review". I'm not claiming to know the mind of the reviewer or what his intentions were, but this review shares something common with all VPN reviews and that is they are all biased in some way for some reason due to some influence either personally or externally.

    What perspective (or existing) VPN service customers need is information reflective of true operational and function effectiveness based on actual long term experiences in a variety of use environment and systems usage, not a 'journalistic' one-time-use short time span opinion. Sure, some people might want a 'journalistic' type of review and be satisfied with it, but intelligent and smart consumers who purchase a product want, and should seek, more than the simple minded 'we kick the tires and drive it off the lot or not' thing given by 'journalistic' VPN review before they buy the product.

    For these and many more reasons, VPN reviews are useless overall.

    The VPN service users forums with actual user experiences are much better at showing true user experiences and pointing out issues or the pro and con. That is, if they have a VPN service user forum to read in which they did not need to weed through the type of crap they encounter here in these forums from trolls attacking the poster instead of discussing the topic.

    Max-P said:
    jbis said:
    VPN reviews are useless overall.
    Just repeating that won't really make any difference to get your point through.



    Max-P said:
    p9291535 said:
    How about this, @jbis comments are useless overall.
    Please stay civilized and stop provoking them. I'm getting tired of closing threads as they inevitably ends in back and forth of progressively stronger insults.

    VPN reviews are useless overall. That was my point, and just stating it, repeating or not, does get my "point through". That is a purpose of these these forums isn't it, for one to state their on-topic points or opinion no matter how long or short that statement of point or opinion may be?  I've no requirement placed on me to 'discuss' further than giving my opinion or point no matter how long or short that point or opinion, is there some sort of forum rule which requires such or limits how often I may post a valid on-topic point/opinion in reply? You want me to post more so that the trolls can amplify and expand their attacks? 

    There was no "back and forth of progressively stronger insults" from me here (even though your post was not directed at me, just pointing that out though). I did nothing other than use the forum for what its intended for, to state my point/opinion and did so in a non-confrontational and non-argumentative manner, it got attacked by trolls seeking confrontation and argument and baiting to make me the topic instead of discussing the actual topic. If something so simple as my short "VPN reviews are useless overall." brings out the trolls then posting more would have further led this thread off topic. Its obvious there was an intentional effort by the trolls to turn this topic into something else and make it about me. What can I say Max-P, told ya so, that it would happen. Its impossible to discuss in an environment where people are attacked and become the topic instead of the actual topic being discussed. Its easy to see there is a coordinated and intentional effort here to troll and attack and to disrupt discussions. I'd love to discuss with others, and to give more, but its impossible in this forum with the trolls around as has already been outlined to you, proven by their posts here and elsewhere, and you have seen for yourself and substantiated by your own post.

    So, want a PIA VPN review? How about a review truly reflective of PIA based upon their forums that the rest of the world sees with the degenerate thinking activity of trolls they allow and apparently nurture and love in their forums? This simple review is it: PIA should have a big banner or page that one has to see and read before buying the PIA product or registering at these forums. It should say "Caveat emptor - Abandon hope all ye who enter here".


    Post edited by jbis on
  • edited October 21 Posts: 173
    @jbis

    I agree with you, VPN reviews are overall useless.
    .
    I just sent you an invitation to the private forum in our company web domain, check your email. If you need help with a VPN issue you can actually get it there. We have industry networking experts and VPN experts experienced with all of the VPN service products on staff and that frequent the forum which can solve just about any VPN or networking or related computer issue you may have in a matter of minutes in most cases and none of this "send us a trouble ticket" back and forth stuff for VPN issues and the sort. Sometimes people from MS and Apple stop by to help out with OS issues and we have on staff people who also can help you fix any computer or OS issues and do so in their professional lives. If you want to change to another VPN provider we can handle those too, we have people from all the VPN services that have found their way to us by invite after we selected them. Plus you will not need to deal with a place that obviously attracts and loves trolls like PIA does, and we have actual experienced moderation for our forums and not this make it up as you go along stuff you see here. We know you are not that lyrrie guy because he is part of our contracted outside consulting legal advisory team and we know who he is so you will not have to deal with that any longer, and can post free from trolls, accusation, moderation bias, and crappy forum software. We have a lot of PIA customers who don't post here at the PIA forums any longer because of the type of activity you have encountered so you may also see some people you may already know of from here. See ya soon..
    Post edited by bgxsec on
  • Posts: 600
    bgxsec said:

    @jbis We know you are not that lyrrie guy because he is part of our contracted outside consulting legal advisory team and we know who he is so you will not have to deal with that any longer, and can post free from trolls, accusation, moderation bias, and crappy forum software.
    Oh my goodness! These sock puppet apologist antics are so entertaining! Thanks for the laugh.

    Oh and @bgxsec, I know that your super secret by-invitation-only vpn is extremely selective, but if you could see your way clear to send an invite to a troll like me please do so.
  • edited October 21 Posts: 62
    tomeworm said:
     
    Oh and @bgxsec, I know that your super secret by-invitation-only vpn is extremely selective, but if you could see your way clear to send an invite to a troll like me please do so.

    It was a private forum, not a VPN. Its unlikely that bgxsec will invite you.
    Post edited by jbis on
  • Posts: 387
    Yeah, I had warned not to start this little war again. Thread closed.

    @jbis and @tomeworm that goes for both of you. I get that you two really don't get along and that's fine but please keep it to yourself or ignore eachother. I know there's no built-in way to ignore someone on the forum but I think we're all big enough to do it in our heads.

    One of the main complaints we get about the forums is the hostility of members like you and the overall lack of moderation. This is two things I intend to change and I know it's going to make some people cry about "censorship" but this is for the greater good of everyone and the community. You guys can voice your opinions without fighting or absolutely having to prove how "right" you are. I really don't want to start having to hand in permanent or temporary bans as I think both of you have decent arguments when you're willing to but if you can't understand it the polite and graceful way I will have to pull out the ban hammer.

    @Xellon if you feel there wasn't sufficient discussion to your thread and would like it reopened feel free to PM me :)
This discussion has been closed.