Over the past couple of years, VPNs have become increasingly mainstream, and despite popularity amongst the average users, some interest groups would prefer if such services never existed.
Financial institutions, record companies, streaming services, artists, film producers, and governments are among the notable parties that have expressed their concerns about the widespread use of VPN services. For example, look at the recent online censorship in Turkey where citizens turned to VPNs to access Twitter.
We believe that the use of a VPN service is a prerogative. It is the right of every person to protect his or her own privacy and nowadays, there is simply a need to do so now that there are all sorts of risks roaming the Internet. For this reason, many individuals are now relying on a VPN to stay protected and anonymous whilst surfing the web.
Most VPNs claim that they do not log data when users are using their VPN services. But as the VPN industry continues to grow, some have even suspected that officials may be allegedly conniving with certain VPNs, or possibly cracking down VPN services in order to extract consumer data. At the same time, we’ve a number of VPN services close their doors, either in an attempt to avoid handing over data or simply couldn’t survive in what has become a very competitive market.
In October 2013, CryptoSeal Privacy, a VPN service, decided to pull the plug rather than risk the government from penetrating the service that could threaten consumer data and privacy. The company announced that all records that were created incidentally (the company does not log anything by design), have already been permanently deleted.
With immediate effect as of this notice, CryptoSeal Privacy, our consumer VPN service, is terminated. All cryptographic keys used in the operation of the service have been zerofilled, and while no logs were produced (by design) during operation of the service, all records created incidental to the operation of the service have been deleted to the best of our ability.
In recent developments, Bucklor, another VPN service, has announced that it will also be shutting down soon. It’s not clear though if it’s closing down permanently or it’s just upgrading its network so as it becomes NSA-proof. Since the announcement, Bucklor’s website has been taken offline with no clue as to what their motives are right now. Once we have any news, you’ll be sure to find out here.
In a related story, not only are VPNs under scrutiny by the government, but all services that offer data encryptions. Back in August 2013, two secure email services suddenly shut down rather than be forced to submit consumer data to the NSA with Lavabit and Silent Circle (Silent Mail) discontinuing their services. “We see the writing the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now,” they said at the time.
Several other VPN services have also closed down in previous years due to the tough competition in the industry and also with pressure from the government and other parties questioning the use of VPN services.
What we’re pointing out here is that if a VPN company or any encryption service wants to stay in the game, they must be able to provide consumers the best technology that even the NSA can’t break through.
From our years of testing and reviewing different VPN services, we dare say that not all VPN services are all bang for your buck; some are good and some are very poor. To stay relevant as a VPN service, VPN companies need to keep releasing updates, expanding their reach, and maintaining their network as secure as possible.
What VPN service do you use? Are you sure that your data are always protected? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.