Which VPN Services Keep You Anonymous in 2018? The latest 2018 torrentfreak.com article is out!

Comments

  • Posts: 29
    In response to the torrentfreak question "5. In the event you receive a DMCA takedown notice or a non-US equivalent, how are these handled?".
    PIA answered 
    "5. We do not monitor our users, and we keep no logs, period. That said, we do have an active, proprietary system in place to help mitigate abuse." :| To me it doesnt seem like the specific question was answered...
  • Posts: 29
    One positive thing that i would like to commend PIA on is not offering so-called "virtual locations" unlike Express VPN.
    Here is a good article for viewers to explore this issue in detail:
    https://restoreprivacy.com/vpn-server-locations/
    Quote from the article above:

    Begin quote: -"Do VPNs really have all the servers they claim in exotic locations all over the world?

    In many cases, the answer is no.

    The true location of some VPN servers may be entirely different. In other words, a server that is allegedly in Pakistan is actually in Singapore. Or a server that should be in Saudi Arabia is actually in Los Angeles, California. (Both are real examples from below.) This is known as spoofing the true location.

    Why is this important?" -end quote.

  • edited March 7 Posts: 634
    Favorable review for PIA. Not so favorable for PIA are the opinions expressed in the comment thread by what appear to be current and former PIA customers.

    nica95 said:
    PIA answered 
    "5. We do not monitor our users, and we keep no logs, period. That said, we do have an active, proprietary system in place to help mitigate abuse." :| To me it doesnt seem like the specific question was answered...
    Agreed. I've asked before about this mysterious "active proprietary system." Never could get a credible answer how on the one hand PIA doesn't "monitor our users" or keep logs "period" but yet has an "active" system to track down, isolate and "mitigate" specific abusers. How do you isolate abuse if you have no ability to "monitor" and "log" it in the first place? PIA seems to have convinced themselves that by calling it a "proprietary system" that automatically classifies it as TOP SECRET. They've magically made themselves immune from having to explain the specifics of how they can mesh two objectives that are diametrically opposed to one another. It seems very much like what they're saying is: "We know nothing about our users and what they do. Period. Oh, but for those who abuse the system watch out! We're actively keeping an eye on you."
    Post edited by tomeworm on
  • edited March 7 Posts: 627
    Proprietary means just that, it is no one's business. If they discussed what it was, it would no longer be proprietary. Kentucky Fried Chicken uses proprietary ingredients, If they tell everyone what those ingredients are then everyone would be making KFC style chicken.
    Post edited by Omnibus_IV on
  • Posts: 634
    @Omnibus_IV, as Ronald Reagan often reminded us, "Trust but verify." I used to trust Kentucky Fried Chicken until I wound up in the Emergency Room with food poisoning. We did some verification that the culprit was indeed the "proprietary" chicken. Further verification revealed that KFC in that year (and for years thereafter, and even still to this day) was a leading cause of hospital ER visits for food poisoning in the US (they and Taco Bell). Needless to say I haven't been back to a KFC since then. KFC is entitled to claim "proprietary ingredients" and get away with it, at least until or unless there is strong reason to believe any of those ingredients can harm their customers.

    Now, I'm not saying that KFC puts rat poison in their "proprietary ingredients." I'm assuming they don't. But if I did ask about it they'd be obligated to answer, "No, rat poison is not one our proprietary ingredients." It's a matter of truth in advertising.

    Any claim of "proprietary" doesn't let a business off the hook in explaining how they can achieve technological objectives which are in stark conflict with one another. It's a matter of truth in advertising. In my view PIA already has some history of being less than forthcoming, and some PIA customers have gone so far as to say PIA has been dishonest in their claims. And so I will continue to trust but verify.
  • edited March 7 Posts: 10
    The question which I found they DIDN'T at all answer & fuddled around was Q #6.) What steps are taken when a court orders your company to identify an active or past user of your service? How would your company respond to a court order that requires you to log activity going forward? Has any of this ever happened?

    Pia's Ans: Every court order is scrutinized to the highest extent for compliance with both the “spirit” and “letter of the law.” We do periodically receive subpoenas from law enforcement agencies that we scrutinize for compliance and respond accordingly. This is all driven based upon our commitment to privacy. All this being said, we do not log and do not have any data on our customers other than their signup e-mail and account username.

    That's a TOTALLY non answer!! The type of answer one hears from a sleazy lying politician. I don't feel at all secure with PIA anymore. Subscribing to another provider ASAP!!
    Post edited by Maverick111 on
  • Posts: 29
    @Maverick111 yeah it does seem like question 6 was NOT ANSWERED AT ALL, i am inclined to believe that perhaps the individual assigned to responding to the yearly questionnaire from torrentfreak wasnt paying much attention thinking these questions have been answered in previous years, when in fact, this question 6 is a new one with specific wording designed to elicit a clear response from the surveyed providers.
    Take a look at what Azirevpn says to the same question <span>:smile:</span>
    "6. In the case that a valid court order is issued, we will inform the other party that we are unable to identify an active user or past user of our service while running as a Blind Operator, which is preventing live analysis of traffic. In that case, they would probably force us to handover physical access to the server, which is fine since they would have to reboot to gain any kind of access, and since we are running diskless in RAM – all data will be lost. So far, we have never received any court order and no personal information has ever been given away." end quote.

    Doesnt that seem like a clear precise answer! Wish PIA customer care could appreciate why such responses to torrentfreak.com should have to be very clear, because the site's opinions on VPN's is highly respected in the torrenting and security community.
  • Posts: 1,018
    @nica95 PIA does have a similar architecture. I indeed think the person that took the questionnaire for the article was from marketing and not the development team as the answers are not technical in any way. Looks like legal "we neither confirm nor deny having any systems" empty statements more than anything else.

    We do have working SSH access to our servers at the moment but blind operator mode is in the works last I heard precisely so we can cover ourselves in a similar way. We have no logs so the past is definitely covered.

    I'm not sure how I feel about SSH access being available: on one hand, that's one way we could be subpoena'd, but at the same time we have no useful information living in RAM that can't be otherwise obtained by simply tapping the network without our knowledge and correlate traffic going in and out.
  • Posts: 29
    @Max-P Looking back a few years, while in the last decade talking about a VPN for privacy may have been considered fringe paranoid talk, so much public perception has changed and awareness has grown tremendously amongst both developers of the VPN applications and the customers in increasing numbers purchasing a subscription to those VPN services. 
    I only heard about commercial VPN's after the Snowden revelations. It took me a couple of years to subscribe to one. But now i cant even imagine the thought of not going online without a VPN and so do a lot of my friends. How perceptions have changed!

    So Max-P, my humble suggestion to you and the dev team, please continue to be innovative and continue to keep the high standards and never stop learning and wanting to do things better in terms of security. You guys, the VPN providers are basically the citizens last hope. Sure there is Tor etc. But VPN's are now mainstream and they are increasingly going to be relevant to more and more people. As such, keep fighting the good fight.
  • Posts: 60
    PIA is the best VPN for privacy no question. 
  • Max-P said:
    @nica95 PIA does have a similar architecture. I indeed think the person that took the questionnaire for the article was from marketing and not the development team as the answers are not technical in any way. Looks like legal "we neither confirm nor deny having any systems" empty statements more than anything else.

    We do have working SSH access to our servers at the moment but blind operator mode is in the works last I heard precisely so we can cover ourselves in a similar way. We have no logs so the past is definitely covered.

    I'm not sure how I feel about SSH access being available: on one hand, that's one way we could be subpoena'd, but at the same time we have no useful information living in RAM that can't be otherwise obtained by simply tapping the network without our knowledge and correlate traffic going in and out.
    Thanks for the clarification. Please ask someone that can make it happen to redraft the response to the questions.
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