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Copyright Trolls

Copyright Trolls

When the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) declared an end to its litigation campaign against music fans who used peer-to-peer technology to share music many people thought that would be the end of mass copyright litigation — after all hadn’t the RIAA demonstrated that suing customers was no way to improve the bottom line?

Apparently not everyone got the memo. In the past year at least three groups have begun to experiment with using mass copyright litigation to extract settlements from individuals. These copyright trolls try to grow businesses out of suing Internet users — their tactics include targeting large groups of anonymous “Doe defendants” to improperly minimize their court costs and exploiting the massive damages in copyright law in order to pressure defendants into settling quickly.

EFF is working hard to help victims get access to the resources they need to defend their rights call the court’s attention to trolls’ disrespect for due process and educate the public about the harms of copyright trolling.

U.S. Copyright Group

Have you been targeted by a USCG subpoena? Learn more about the claims made against you, explore possible defenses, and try to find legal counsel.

The U.S. Copyright Group (USCG) approaches independent film producers and offers to collect money from people who are illegally downloading their movies on BitTorrent. USCG currently represents the producers of several films including The Hurt Locker and Far Cry. USCG then files predatory lawsuits implicating thousands of unnamed John Does, subpoenas their identities from the ISP’s, and then sues the individuals themselves. Once the user’s identity is known USCG threatens a judgment of up to $150,000 per downloaded movie — the maximum penalty allowable by law in copyright suits and a very unlikely judgment in cases arising from a single noncommercial infringement — in order to pressure the alleged infringers to settle quickly for $1,500 to $2,500 per person. The judge in two of USCG’s cases has dismissed many of the defendants though thousands more remain.

Righthaven

If you are the target for a Righthaven lawsuit in need of representation please contact info@eff.org. Please understand that we have a relatively small number of very hard-working attorneys so we do not have the resources to defend everyone who asks no matter how deserving. However, if we cannot represent you directly we will make every effort to put you in touch with attorneys who can.

Righthaven LLC has brought over a hundred lawsuits in a Nevada federal court claiming copyright infringement. They find cases by searching the Internet for parts of newspaper stories posted online by individuals nonprofits political organizations and others; buying the copyright to that newspaper story; and then suing the operator of the website for copyright infringement. Like the U.S. Copyright Group, Righthaven relies on the threat of copyright liability (and, in a unique twist, an entirely bogus threat of loss of the target’s domain name) to scare the posters into a quick settlement. Reported settlements have fallen between $2,000 and $3,000.

Porn Downloading Lawsuits

In these cases the owners of the adult movies filed mass lawsuits based on single counts of copyright infringement stemming from the downloading of a pornographic film and improperly lumped hundreds of defendants together regardless of where the IP addresses indicate the defendants live. To date over 50,000 Does have been targeted in cases filed in West Virginia, Texas, Illinois, and the Northern District of California. The motivation behind these cases appears to be to leverage the risk of embarrassment associated with pornography to coerce settlement payments despite serious problems with the underlying claims. The judge in several of the cases filed in West Virginia has blocked plaintiffs from proceeding against almost all of the defendants in those cases — approximately 5,400 people. Unfortunately, thousands of defendants in other cases are still under threat.

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(This article was taken from the occupycorporatism.com website. Thanks!)

CIA-Sponsored Trolls Monitor Internet & Interact With Users to Discredit Factual Information

Nov 29th, 2012 0 Comment

Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism
November 29, 2012

In July of this year it became apparent through a flood of mainstream media reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) was “desperate to hire new hacking talent to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure” yet the NSA is notorious for its surveillance programs on American digital activity.

David Petraeus, former director of the CIA, said at a summit for In-Q-Tel, that he was speculating on the “internet of things” and that “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies . . . particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”

Petraeus is seeking to better the CIA’s ability to create online identities for undercover spies. Currently, each internet user has a digital footprint that can trace the movements online to the person on the other end of the screen. Petraeus wants to utilize technology that will essentially erase a digital footprint; erasing all traces of anyone at the whim of the CIA.

In a possible preparation for the ability of the CIA to spy on American citizens with their household items, the NSA’s Utah Data Center is located in the Utah desert in the foot hills of the Wasatch mountain range. This is the centerpiece of the Global Information Grid; a military project that collects yottabytes of data. They are listening to every conversation, reading every post, intercepting every text message under the false flag of terrorism.

The facility has the technological ability to record and analyze every communication in the world. From emails to phone calls to text messages to chats; nothing is private anymore.

Based on “threat Levels” the NSA can use all the technology at their disposal to obtain information on:

• Finances
• Stock transactions
• Business deals
• Foreign military
• Diplomatic secrets
• Legal documents
• Personal civilian communications

This information could be used at Fusion Centers for the DHS to create a more efficient profile on each and every American citizen. The implications are staggering. This ability to collect these types of data are a violation of the 4th Amendment guard against unreasonable searches and seizures. By collecting intelligence on every American citizen, the US government is treating everyone as if they were a potential foreign or domestic terrorist. Whether this assumption is valid or not, under the US constitution, Americans are supposed to be protected from intrusion of government; even if that government is their own.

At the same time the NSA spy center was being constructed, Attorney General Eric Holder new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). These guidelines will allow the NCTC access to data on American citizens once held under right to privacy. The NCTC will focus on collecting and sharing information; regardless of whether or not there is the threat of terrorism. The will collaborate with local state officials, tribal courts and private partners; as well as the FBI and DHS and other federal agencies.

The Obama administration empowered the NCTC with the authority afforded Obama under Presidential Executive Order 13354. This EO was codified by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The NCTC reports directly to the President and director of National Intelligence as instructed by the President and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Sen. John McCain was integral in the creation of this combination of military strength and governmental power culminating in all-encompassing tyranny.

Both private and public corporations will be employed to mine the data. Silicon Valley and other technology giants in the private sector will have open access to private information on any and all American citizens.

Since the manufactured attack on 9/11, the US government has created a “vast domestic intelligence apparatus” that spies on Americans and collects massive amounts of data to be profiled and used at the discretion of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), local law enforcement, DHS and military criminal investigators. The FBI and NSA house more than 1.5 billion government and private sector profiles. The information on average citizens includes all sources of criminal and non-criminal databases that assist the US government in creating a filing system on each American.

The NSA has a comprehensive program to search out our schools into scouting grounds for a team of American grown hacker community. The Obama administration has made it a concern of theirs that the future of cybersecurity rest with the college graduates of tomorrow. The NSA is focusing on colleges and universities within the US. Four schools have already been singled out as official Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-COP).

The CAE-COP focuses on recruiting persons with “particular emphasis on technologies and techniques related to specialized cyber operations (e.g., collection, exploitation, and response), to enhance the national security posture of our Nation.”

Those chosen for this program become vital researchers expected to assist the NSA in:

• Global communications and computing networks
• Developing a digital strategic advantage
• Collaboration with the US government on cyber issues
• Carry out directives on designated targets at the discretion of the US government

These “cyber operators” are trained to become an elite team of “computer geniuses” that are experts in computer hacking, digital communications, cyber intelligence – for the purpose of spying on Americans; as well as conducting interactive digital psy-ops with users of the internet.

Earlier this month, Janet Napolitano, in her blog entitled “Inspiring the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals”, would like future generations to learn about cybersecurity so that their contribution to the federal government is secure to “ensure their professional development.” The collaboration of the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency will support “the nation’s educational infrastructure by supporting Centers of Academic Excellence” to make sure that the “scope of cyber education” becomes an important function for those in the field as inspired by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).

NICE is meant to “establish an operational, sustainable and continually improving cybersecurity education program for the nation to use sound cyber practices that will enhance the nation’s security.” The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) oversee NICE by providing information and leverage to encourage the development of citizens to become “responsible” when using the Internet.

Beginning in kindergarten, Napolitano hopes that the DHS-sponsored US Cyber Challenge will provide schools, universities and all forms of academia in the private sector the federal government-allocated tools they would need to “develop the best and brightest cyber talent to meet our nation’s growing and changing security needs.”

In 2011, the NICE report entitled, “Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity Education”, explored intercepting children in the public education system, as well as continuing the focus throughout their educational career, there can be a national recruitment and retention process that produces “skilled workers for the private sector and government.”

Napolitano’s Secretary’s Honors Program for Cybersecurity Professionals is meant to recruit college students for the purpose of assimilating their talents into the federal government for “missions including cyber” security as defined by the DHS Advisory Council Task Force on CyberSkills. This focus is to ensemble the most effectual cybersecurity team comprised of civilians, US veterans and those educated specifically in the field of IT technologies. For the sake of national security, DHS is selecting the most technically skilled citizens in the avenues of malware and digital forensic analysis, to participate in the Cybersecurity Internship Program for a 2 year internship that will result in a devotional career in the federal government and service to Big Sis.

In August, the DHS was central in the taking of domain names for websites without due process or explanation – simply using the blanket claim of copyright infringement. Holder and Napolitano received correspondence from several members of the House of Representatives who were in protest of the domain name seizures, citing that the copyright claims were questionable and that the websites were clearly being censored for alternative reasons.

The letter stated that: “Our concern centers on your Department’s methods, and the process given, when seizing the domain names of websites whose actions and content are presumed to be lawful, protected speech.”

According to Lynnae Williams, former CIA clandestine service trainee and DIA analyst, the FBI and CIA use trolls to monitor social media and interact with users to discredit information disseminated on the web. Williams explains that the CIA provides training videos to new recruits on how to troll the internet. Once a target is locked-in, all open source information is obtained on the individual, and then any angle to discredit them in public forum is used on social media sites.

Software is used to sift through the “mountains” of users on social networking sites. At the Atlanta CIA branch where Williams was trained, she personally witnessed CIA-sponsored and sanctioned trolling of Americans on social networking sites.

In 2011, the CIA revealed its Open Source Center where recruited personnel are used as government trolls to “analyze” websites for information pertinent to the objective of the US government – meaning discrediting targets on certain websites. Under the guise of conducting business intelligence (i.e. cyberespionage), the Open Source software gathers digital data on targets; including all Facebook posts, Twitter posts, comments on website threads. Those assigned to monitor this data can interact with users online through anonymous portals. Agents are designated to surveillance operations to message anyone, analyze political and religious speech, assess trends and conduct electronic eavesdropping through cell phones, satellites and other digital apparatus.

Agents not only survey the internet and interact as anonymous persons through directed postings, but also are deployed to wander through the streets domestically and in foreign nations to monitor newspaper and other printed media to extract useful information about the temperament of the general public.

When professional trolls want to attack for copyright infringement, they may combine defamatory comments across the internet with a fraudulent DMCA notice of takedown, to discredit a source of information that they feel threatened by.

The EFF have reported on copyright trolls that experiment with claiming copyright infringement to “extract settlements from individuals.” These trolls “try to grow businesses out of suing Internet users.”

Professional trolls litter the court system with frivolous lawsuits based on wild accusations of copyright infringement in order to wear down the victim as well as hoping to squeeze monetary restitution for fraudulent claims. The members of the alternative media as well as readers need to be aware of these individuals who are cloaked in truth yet rife with disinformation. Their intention is to cut off the free flow of information on the internet and stifle voices that are exposing truth for their own selfish gains.

(The article below was taken from the Infowars.net website. Thanks!)

Note: You can now watch America: From Freedom To Fascism for free on YouTube.

Russo Film Exposes Criminal Banking Syndicate That Rules America

Steve Watson & Alex Jones / Infowars.net | October 25 2006

Click here to order America: Freedom to Fascism now. See below for the trailer.

In 1913 America was a free country. Then a band of powerful bankers achieved their fathers’ and great grandfathers’ goal. America has never been the same. Soon the world will not be the same.

Aaron Russo expertly exposes the traitorous Federal Reserve Act and the fact that there is no law that stipulates American citizens have to pay income taxes. The ratification of the 16th amendment, also known as the “Tax amendment”, represents a fundamental undermining of Constitutional law in America. It is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated against the American people by the elite private banking institutions that have usurped government as an arm of their overall control mechanism.

Russo presents interviews with an impressive range of government officials, IRS special agents , FBI officers, Politicians and tax attorneys who have researched and subsequently campaigned against the Federal Reserve Act and thus reveals why the IRS is an illegal foundation.

The income tax does not meet either criteria of Constitutionally legal taxation in America, that is direct apportioned tax or indirect uniform tax. The IRS claims that the 16th Amendment allowed for a third form of taxation, however, the Supreme court ruling on the amendment states that it allows for no new forms of taxation. More supreme court cases in the same period confirm the same conclusion. The 16th Amendment did not allow the Federal Government to levy a new tax, thus there is no Constitutional basis for the income tax.

The findings of the Grace Commission, a Blue-Ribbon panel appointed by President Ronald Reagan found that:

“One hundred percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the federal debt. All individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services taxpayers expect from government.”

Education, health and community up keep is paid for out of state and local property taxes, gas taxes, liquor taxes, you name it. Proceeds from the income tax do not pay for these things.The income tax money goes to pay for defense and the expansion of corporate America. In essence everyday American people are funding expansionist wars and the playboy lifestyle of the financial institutions that then further profit from that activity and become ever more powerful.

The income tax is the tool of totalitarianism. It is the means by which the corporate controlled government manipulates the people on a mass scale and locks them into servitude. If the people do not know what their rights are then an agency that knowingly breaks the law is not going to tell them.

The banks now control America. They print the currency and tell the people what it’s worth. They have the legal right to counterfeit money. This coup d’etat of benign open and accountable government by elitist private interest represents the tipping point from freedom and the long slide towards fascism. Since the government’s primary goal stopped being the welfare of the people it has ceased to exist as a legal entity.

This is exactly what Thomas Jefferson warned the American people may happen. Jefferson said:

“If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency…the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property, until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Russo, the award winning filmmaker who produced “The Rose” and “Trading Places”, confronts the IRS in Washington and is quickly reprimanded by Homeland Security. He discovers that those who have stood up to the income tax slave system and simply asked the question “where is the law?” have been slandered and personally attacked because to reduce the issue to a rational debate would immediately expose the truth behind the entire scam.

Russo discovers that this has not come about by accident it is a planned and coordinated agenda. The younger generations have no concept that they have been drawn into a trap from which they cannot escape. The middle class is being systematically and purposefully wiped out, leaving behind a population on the brink of serfdom. The purchasing power of the dollar has been destroyed BY DESIGN, leaving behind a cost of living only affordable to those who profit from the system.

New laws passed through Congress seek to further enslave people by making it harder to declare bankruptcy while at the same time allowing the banks to charge huge amounts of interest. thus both parties, working with the banks, legally enslave the nation.

The people of America are being fed upon by the elite and devoured alive and they barely even recognize it. It is the perfect crime, the pinnacle of criminal capitalism

It is with this in mind that Russo delves deep into the big brother control agenda and places it succinctly within the context it needs to be understood in. What is being sold to the American people today as patriotism is fascism, and it is part of the same overall agenda to rape the people financially, spiritually and mentally. This is the only place to go to get more out of America. If you can literally control the movements people make and the actions they take then you own their world.

You need to see this film now. In one hour and forty nine minutes Aaron Russo spells out what is at stake and what happened when the American people stopped questioning and started trusting their government.

Do you think the CIA missed out on this drug? Me neither.

(The following article was taken from the Infowars.com website. Thanks!)

Note: There is another article from NaturalNews.com below this first article.

Inmate: James Holmes Told Me He Was ‘Programmed’ To Kill by “Evil” Therapist

‘Batman’ shooter a Manchurian Candidate?

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
November 28, 2012

An alleged inmate of ‘Batman’ massacre culprit James Holmes claims the shooter told him that he was “programmed” to carry out the massacre by an “evil” therapist.

The shocking story has gone virtually unnoticed after appearing in a blog post on the Denver Westword website last week.

After failing to interest the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office in his account of what happened, 38-year-old Steven Unruh has now gone public. Unruh was booked into the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility just hours before the ‘Batman’ massacre unfolded and says that he was still in the booking area when Holmes was brought in.

Unruh then claims that he was able to communicate with Holmes from a nearby cell and that Holmes appeared to show remorse for what had happened.

The most explosive element of what Unruh claims Holmes told him could – if true – shed an entirely different light on the circumstances behind the Aurora theater shooting.

“He says that Holmes told him “he felt like he was in a video game” during the shooting, that “he wasn’t on his meds” and “nobody would help him.” He says Holmes also mentioned NLP — presumably, neuro-linguistic programming, a much-scorned and outmoded approach to psychotherapy — and claimed to have been “programmed” to kill by an evil therapist.”

“When he got out to his car, he wasn’t programmed no more,” Unruh says. “It sounded kind of crazy. He was trying to run it by me, basically.”

Unruh was also given a phone number that Holmes asked him to call which connected to a bereavement counselor who says she has no acquaintance with Holmes or Unruh.

“They’re going to try to discredit my story,” Unruh told writer Alan Prendergast. “But I was able to have a four-hour talk with him. I talked him out of suicide.”

Prendergast notes that although jail authorities doubt Unruh would have had an opportunity to speak to Holmes, “certain elements of the story” ring true, including, “a description that resembles the headbanging routine that sent Holmes to the hospital last week.”

Stories about infamous killers being brainwashed into carrying out murders are almost commonplace. The most well known is probably Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy’s alleged assassin.

As the London Independent reported in 2005, evidence strongly indicates that Sirhan was a Manchurian candidate, a victim of mind control who was set up to be the fall guy for the murder. Sirhan was described by eyewitnesses as being in a trance-like state as he pulled the trigger.

“There was no way Sirhan Sirhan killed Kennedy,” said (Sirhan’s lawyer Larry) Teeter….He was the fall guy. His job was to get busted while the trigger man walked out. He wasn’t consciously involved in any plot. He was a patsy. He was unconscious and unaware of what was happening – he was the true Manchurian Candidate.”

The CIA’s use of mind control to create killers is a matter of historical record. MK-ULTRA was the code name for a covert, illegal CIA human research program, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence that came to light in 1975 through investigations by the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission. 14-year CIA veteran Victor Marchetti insists that the program is ongoing and has not been abandoned.

According to his lawyers, Sirhan Sirhan “was an involuntary participant in the crimes being committed because he was subjected to sophisticated hypno programming and memory implantation techniques which rendered him unable to consciously control his thoughts and actions at the time the crimes were being committed,” and served only as a diversion for the real assassin.

The parallels between Sirhan Sirhan and James Holmes are alarming. Both were described as behaving as if in a trance or under the influence of drugs, both cannot remember any of the details of the shootings, and in both cases eyewitnesses reported more than one gunman at the scene.

In both the RFK and ‘Batman’ shootings, eyewitnesses described other shooters, dismantling the “lone wolf” narrative. According to Nina Rhodes-Hughes, another man was shooting at RFK and the authorities tried to alter her account of what happened. “What has to come out is that there was another shooter to my right,” Rhodes-Hughes said in an interview with CNN. “The truth has got to be told. No more cover-ups.” Sirhan’s lawyers also presented evidence that “two guns were fired in the assassination and that Sirhan’s revolver was not the gun that shot Kennedy.”

Similarly in the case of Holmes, eyewitnesses described two shooters, noting that one of the gas canisters was thrown from the opposite side of the theater to where the killer was standing. It has also been suggested that Holmes had an accomplice. Eyewitnesses described the killer talking on a cellphone before the shooting and then standing in the emergency exit and beckoning someone else over.

Holmes, a neuroscience student, was also fascinated with mind control. During his time at Salk Institute of Biological Studies, Holmes designed a computer program to alter mental states using flicker rates. Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner was also obsessed with mind control.

While there is no way to confirm Unruh’s account, he seems to have little motive in making it up out of fresh air. Added to the other unexplained inconsistencies surrounding the ‘Batman’ massacre, the story will only serve to bolster the view amongst some that the full story about the tragic events of that night has not yet come to light.

*********************

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

This article was posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 6:34 am

(The following article was taken from the NaturalNews.com website. Thanks!)

(NaturalNews) The borrachero tree, which is marked by beautiful white and yellow blossoms that droop ever so innocuously from the plant’s slender branches, holds a secret that few people outside northern South America know about. The tree’s seeds, flowers, and pollen possess hallucinogenic chemical substances that, when inhaled or consumed, are capable of eliminating a person’s free will, and turning him or her into a mindless zombie that can be fully controlled without any inhibitions.

Back in May, the U.K.’s Daily Mail ran a report on the borrachero tree, also known as the “drunken binge” tree, explaining how a substance derived from it, scopolamine, blocks a person’s ability to form memories, and temporarily inhibits his ability to make free will choices. When inhaled or consumed, in other words, scopolamine can turn any person into a robot that will do whatever another person tells him to do, even if it means robbing his own house.

“The drug … turns people into complete zombies and blocks memories from forming,” wrote the U.K.’s Daily Mail about scopolamine, which is technically a refined, chemically-altered version of the natural, mind-altering substances found in the borrachero tree. Scopolamine is often used in Colombia and elsewhere by criminals to mind-control others for the purpose of committing crimes.

“Scopolamine is a drug like no other. Nothing can compare,” said Demencia Black, a Colombian drug dealer, to Vice‘s Ryan Duffy during an interview that was later compiled into a full-length, investigatory documentary. “You could be walking … and suddenly ‘poof’ (implying that you quickly blow scopolamine powder in someone’s face) … with just that flash the person is totally drugged.”

“You wait a minute and when you see it kick in, then you know that you own that person. You can guide them wherever you want. It’s like they’re a child. You say, ‘Take me to your house, give me your checkbook, take out your savings, give me your credit card numbers,’ just like that.”

This is precisely what happened to a woman named Carolina who was drugged with scopolamine and apparently told to rob her own house, and hand over the belongings to her captors. Though she does not remember any of it, Carolina says she happily gathered all of her belongings, as well as her boyfriend’s savings and camera equipment, and helped load it up into the vehicles of her captors.

Carolina counts herself blessed, despite her losses, as many others have had much worse things done to them while under the influence of scopolamine. Reports indicate that scopolamine is often used for much worse crimes, including as a means by which to influence a person to commit more atrocious acts like rape or even murder.

You can watch the complete, two-part scopolamine investigation by Vice at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk
(As a warning, the film contains language and other content that is inappropriate for children).

Was the Batman shooting a result of scopolamine, or other similar mind-control drugs?

All of this information about scopolamine brings to mind the recent Batman massacre in Colorado which, as we reported on recently, does not seem to match the official story (http://www.naturalnews.com). Incongruous evidence and conflicting eyewitness reports have led many to wonder whether James Holmes, the man being blamed for the crimes, was under the influence of mind-control drugs during the incident that caused him to become the convenient scapegoat for a much more sinister agenda instigated by outside forces. (http://www.naturalnews.com)

Sources for this article include:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

(This article was taken from the TorrentFreak.com website. Thanks!)

Which VPN Providers Really Take Anonymity Seriously?

Last month it became apparent that not all VPN providers live up to their marketing after an alleged member of Lulzsec was tracked down after using a supposedly anonymous service from HideMyAss. We wanted to know which VPN providers take privacy extremely seriously so we asked many of the leading providers two very straightforward questions. Their responses will be of interest to anyone concerned with anonymity issues.

As detailed in yesterday’s article, if a VPN provider carries logs of their users’ activities the chances of them being able to live up to their claim of offering an anonymous service begins to decrease rapidly.

There are dozens of VPN providers, many of which carry marketing on their web pages which suggests that the anonymity of their subscribers is a top priority. But is it really? Do their privacy policies stand up to scrutiny? We decided to find out.

Over the past two weeks TorrentFreak contacted some of the leading, most-advertised, and most talked about VPN providers in the file-sharing and anonymity space. Rather than trying to decipher what their often-confusing marketing lingo really means, we asked them two direct questions instead:

1. Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you or a 3rd party to match an IP address and a time stamp to a user of your service? If so, exactly what information do you hold?

2. Under what jurisdictions does your company operate and under what exact circumstances will you share the information you hold with a 3rd party?

This article does not attempt to consider the actual quality of service offered by any listed provider, nor does it consider whether any service is good value for money. All we are interested in is this: Do they live up to claims that they provide a 100% anonymous service? So here we go, VPN providers in the file-sharing space first.

P2P Supporting VPN providers

BTguard

Response to Q1: “It’s technically unfeasible for us to maintain log files with the amount of connections we route,” BTguard explain. “We estimate the capacity needed to store log files would be 4TB per day.”

Response to Q2: “The jurisdiction is Canada. Since we do not have log files, we have no information to share. We do not communicate with any third parties. The only event we would even communicate with a third party is if we received a court order. We would then be forced to notify them we have no information. This has not happened yet.”

BTguard website (with discounts)

Private Internet Access

Response to Q1: “We absolutely do not maintain any VPN logs of any kind. We utilize shared IP addresses rather than dynamic or static IPs, so it is not possible to match a user to an external IP. These are some of the many solutions we have implemented to enable the strongest levels of anonymity amongst VPN services. Further, we would like to encourage our users to use an anonymous e-mail and pay with Bitcoins to ensure even higher levels of anonymity should it be required. Our core verticals are privacy, quality of service, and prompt customer support.”

Response to Q2: “Our company currently operates out of the United States with gigabit gateways in the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. We chose the US, since it is one of the only countries without a mandatory data retention law. We will not share any information with third parties without a valid court order. With that said, it is impossible to match a user to any activity on our system since we utilize shared IPs and maintain absolutely no logs.”

Private Internet Access website

TorrentPrivacy

Response to Q1: “We have connection logs, but we don’t store IP addresses there. These logs are kept for 7 days. Though it’s impossible to determine who exactly have used the service.”

Response to Q2: “We have servers in Netherlands, Sweden and USA while our company is based on Seychelles. We do not disclose any information to 3rd parties and this can be done only in case of a certain lawsuit filed against our company.”

TorrentPrivacy website

TorGuard

Response to Q1: “Our sever connection logs are purged on a daily basis since we don’t maintain hard drive’s big enough to store all this data. TorGuard’s torrent proxy and VPN connection logs do not associate an IP with each request as there are hundreds of users sharing the same connection at any given time. Since there are no logs kept or IP’s recorded, it is not possible to identify exactly who has used the connection.”

Response to Q2: “Our parent company is based in Panema, with secure servers in Netherlands, Romania, Ukraine and Panema. We do not share any of our user’s information with third parties, period. Only in the event of an official court order would we be forced to communicate with a third party. This scenario has never occurred, but if it were to, we would be forced to explain in more technical terms how we don’t maintain usage logs.”

TorGuard website

ItsHidden

Response to Q1: “No logs, they are not kept. Even system logs that do not directly link to users are rotated on an hourly basis.”

Response to Q2: “The company has recently been sold and falls under the Jurisdiction of the Seychelles. As such there is no requirement [to log] within that jurisdiction.”

ItsHidden website

Ipredator

Response to Q1: “We don’t store the IP at all actually. It’s in temporary use for the session you have when you’re connected but that’s it. We’ve had very few issues with not having logs, but not keeping them makes it safer even for us since we can’t accidentally give out information about anyone.”

Response to Q2: “We fall – mostly – under Swedish jurisdiction when it comes to the service. When it comes to organisational stuff (who keeps the data, who owns the service, who owns the server, who owns the network etc etc) it’s very mixed, intentionally. This is to make it hard and/or impossible to legally bully us around if that would be the case.”

“We can’t be easily shut down, and we can’t be pressured by courts to implement stuff we would oppose. For end-users this is not affecting them in a negative way at all, only the opposite.”

Ipredator website

Faceless

Response to Q1: “We do not log any IP addresses and no information about what data is accessed by our users, so we have no information that could be interesting to third-parties.”

Response to Q2: “We have servers in The Netherlands and our company is based in Cyprus. If authorities would contact us we would have to tell them that we have no connection logs or IP-addresses saved on our systems.”

Faceless website

General VPN providers

IPVanish

Response to Q1: We in no way record or store any user’s activity while connected to IPVanish. The only information we collect from a VPN session is: Timestamp (date and server time) of the connection to us, duration of the connection, IP address used for the connection and bytes transferred. Logs are also regularly cycled. Additionally, IPVanish users are given dynamic and SHARED IP addresses on the same servers—making it impossible for us to single out anyone for anything.

Response to Q2: ” We operate out of the US and, like all companies and citizens, must comply with local law. As detailed earlier, we have generic connection logs, but that information is not sufficient for identifying individual users. We take privacy and reliable extremely seriously and will also never share, rent or lease any information to any 3rd party.”

IPVanish website

AirVPN

Response to Q1: The company carries no identifying logs.

Response to Q2: “Jurisdiction is in the EU, under most circumstances Italy (country of the company and home of the person legally responsible for data protection), but applicable law may be one of the EU Member States where the servers of the network are physically located (no servers are in Italy),” AirVPN told us.

“We don’t share any information with anyone.”

AirVPN website

PRQ

Response to Q1: “We do not log anything, not even temporary logs. We do not have any “personal information”, since we only require a working e-mail address to sign up. Many customers use anonymous e-mail services like hushmail and the like. Even if a customer gives us their information, we do not use it.”

Response to Q2: “We fall under Swedish jurisdiction, no circumstances will be accepted to share information, since we do not have any information to share.”

PRQ website

VPNReactor

Response to Q1: “Only for 5 days to stop abuse[..]. After 5 days we have absolutely no way to match any IP address or time stamp to any users. Privacy and Security is further enhanced for individual users because their VPN connections are basically lost in the crowd.”

“Our free VPN users share a block of IPs when they connect to the internet via VPNReactor. So at any given time hundreds/thousands of our VPN users that have active connections could all be sharing a single IP address. None of our VPN users are assigned individual public IPs.”

Response to Q2: “We strive to be upfront and transparent with our logging policies for the benefit of our VPN users.” Logs seen by TorrentFreak seemed to confirm no identifiable information being stored.

“We are a U.S. based company and are bound by U.S. based court orders,” VPNReactor continued. “However, if a U.S. based subpoena comes in requesting info for activity that occurred more then 5 days prior, we have absolutely nothing to provide as our logs would have expired off. Request for connection details outside a U.S. based court order will be fully ignored.”

VPNReactor website

BlackVPN

Response to Q1: “We do not keep any logs about our users internet activities including which sites they access or what data they transfer. We also run log cleaners on our systems which removes the IPs from logs before they are written to disk,” the company told TorrentFreak.

“For tax and legal reasons we do store some billing information (name, email, country), but it is stored with a third-party and separate from the rest of BlackVPN.”

BlackVPN say they hold a username and email address of their subscribers and the times of connection and disconnection to their services along with bandwidth consumption. Logging is carried out as follows:

“On our Privacy Servers, NL & LT we don’t log anything that can identify the user, but on our US & UK server where we don’t allow sharing copyrighted materials we do log the internal RFC1918 IP that is assigned to the user at a specific time,” BlackVPN explain.

“So to clarify, we don’t log the real external IP of the user, just our RFC1918 internal one, this we have to do to comply with local laws and to be able to handle DMCAs.”

Update: in their FAQ BlackVPN now writes:

“Although we do not monitor the traffic, incoming or outgoing connections of our users we may assign users to a unique IP address and log which user was assigned which IP address at a given time. If we receive a copyright violation notice from the appropriate copyright holder then we will forward the violation to the offending user and may terminate their account. We therefore ask our users not to distribute or transmit material which violates the copyright laws in either your country or the country in which our Service is hosted.”

Response to Q2: “We operate under the jurisdiction of the Netherlands and we will fiercely protect the privacy and rights of our users and we will not disclose any information on our users to anyone, unless forced to by law enforcement personnel that have produced the proper legal compliance documents or a court order. (In which case we don’t really have a choice).”

BlackVPN website

PrivatVPN

Response to Q1: “We don’t keep ANY logs that allow us or a 3rd party to match an IP address and a time stamp to a user our service. The only thing we log are e-mails and usernames but it’s not possible to bind a activity on the Internet to a user.”

Please note: PrivatVPN also offer use of a US server for watching services like Hulu. IP logs are kept when users use this service.

Response to Q2: “Since we do not log any IP addresses [we have] nothing to disclose. Circumstances doesn’t matter in this case, we have no information regarding our customers’ IP addresses.”

PrivatVPN website

Privacy.io

Response to Q1: “No logs whatsoever are kept. We therefore simply are not able to hand data out. We believe that if you are not required to have logs, then you shouldn’t. It can only cause issues as seen with the many data leaks in recent years. Should legislation change in the juristictions we operate in, then we’ll move. And if that’s not possible, then we’ll shut the service down. No compromises.”

Response to Q2: “We span several jurisdictions to make our service less prone for legal attacks. Servers are currently located in Sweden. We do not share data because we don’t have it. We built this system because we believe only when communicating anonymously, you can really freely express yourself. As soon as you make a compromise, you are going down a slippery slope to surveilance. People will ask for more and more data retention as seen around the world in many countries recently. We do it because we believe in this, and not for the money.”

Privacy.io website

Mullvad

Response to Q1: “No. And we don’t see why anyone would. It would be dishonest towards our customers and mean *more* potential legal trouble.”

Response to Q2: “Swedish jurisdiction. We don’t know of any way in which the Swedish state in practice could make us behave badly towards our clients and that has never happened. Another sign we take privacy seriously is that we accept payments in Bitcoin and cash in the mail.”

Mullvad website

Cryptocloud

Response to Q1: “We log nothing at all.”

Response to Q2: “We don’t log anything on the customer usage side so there are no dots to connect period, we completely separate the payment information,” they told us.

“Realistically unless you operate out of one of the ‘Axis of Evil Countries” Law Enforcement will find a way to put the screws to you,” Cryptocloud add.

“I have read the nonsense that being in Europe will protect you from US Law Enforcement, worked well for HMA didn’t it? Furthermore I am pretty sure the Swiss Banking veil was penetrated and historically that is more defend-able than individual privacy. The way to solve this is just not to log, period.”

Cryptocloud website

VPN providers who log, sometimes a lot

VyprVPN

VyprVPN is the VPN service connected to and offered by the Giganews Usenet service, although it can be used completely standalone. In common with many other providers we contacted, VyprVPN acknowledged receipt of our questions but then failed to respond. We’ve included them here since they have such a high-profile.

The company policy says that logging data “is maintained for use with billing, troubleshooting, service offering evaluation, [Terms of Service] issues, [Acceptable Use Policy] issues, and for handling crimes performed over the service. We maintain this level of information on a per-session basis for at least 90 days.”

On Usenet forum NZBMatrix several users have reported having their VyprVPN service terminated after the company processed “a backlog” of DMCA notices which pushed them over the “two-strikes-and-out” acceptable use policy.

So, does VyprVPN log? You bet.

SwissVPN

We included SwissVPN in our survey because they are well known, relatively cheap and have been used by those on a tight budget. To their credit, they were also the fastest company to respond. They are one of the few companies that do not make anonymity claims.

Response to Q1: “SwissVPN is being operated based on Swiss Telecommunications and Personal Data Protection Law. Session IP’s (not visited content, websites, mail, etc.) are being logged for 6 months,” the company told us.

Response to Q2: The company responds to requests from 3rd parties under Swiss criminal law (pdf).

SwissVPN website

StrongVPN

This company did not directly answer our questions but pointed us to their logkeeping policy instead.

StrongVPN do log and are able to match an external IP address to their subscribers. We have included them here since they were the most outwardly aggressive provider in our survey when it came to dealing with infringement.

“StrongVPN does not restrict P2P usage, but please note sharing of Copyrighted materials is forbidden, please do not do this or we will have to take action against your account,” they told us, later adding in a separate mail: “StrongVPN Notice: You may NOT distribute copyright-protected material through our network. We may cancel your account if that happens.”

StrongVPN website

Disappointing: VPN providers who simply failed to respond

In addition to the above, TorrentFreak also approached a number of other fairly well known VPN providers. It’s not clear if our questions were simply too tricky to answer in a positive light or whether there was some other reason, but disappointingly none of them responded to our emails, despite in some cases having acknowledged receipt of our questions.

They include Blacklogic.com, PureVPN.com, VPNTunnel.se [Update: VPNTunnel.se have now responded, see here], Bolehvpn.net [Update: Boleh responded after publication – they carry no logs] and Ivacy.com.

Should the above now feel able to respond directly to our questions, or if there are any other VPN providers reading who would like to be included in a future update, please contact us now with direct responses to the questions above. Apologies to the providers who contacted us at the last minute but were too late to be included in the report – we had to stop somewhere.

Final thoughts

When signing up to a VPN provider it really is evident that their their logging and privacy policies should be read slowly. And then read again, even more slowly than at first. Many are not as straightforward as they first appear (some even seem to be deliberately misleading) and that is the very reason why we asked our own questions instead.

In contrast to the the pessimism generated by yesterday’s report, as we can see from the list above, when it comes to offering real privacy there are plenty of services out there.

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Showing 1-100 of 289 comments

  • thanks for this TF!

  • That. This article is simply gold. Amazing work TF!

  • This item would have been complete if a third question had been asked of these providers, specifically;

    Are you, or are you considering becoming a member of the VPN Council?

    This orchestrated group of companies has the potential to completely nullify any concept of neutrality and anonymity in their pursuit of profit.

  • Like I said on the HideMyAss article, I am completely in agreement with you. The last thing the VPN industry needs is a RIAA-style “trade group” to screw over their customers, and I will actively avoid all its members.

  • I don’t think in the long run it will matter if VPN providers are a part of the VPN Council or not, and here’s why:

    The VPN council is attempting to legitimize their industry, to separate itself as far as possible from the negative press of illegal activities. As this battle of legislation continues, the VPN council will take whatever members it does have and attempt to work with lawmakers and IP industries to draft VPN-related law.

    At that point, the number or specifics of the council’s members is meaningless; all that will matter is that a portion of the VPN industry can reach an agreement with copyright groups. This will lead to (in the political scene) the idea that VPN’s are merely unwilling to play ball and do what is best.

    In the end, the Council will inflict political damage that causes non-Council VPN providers to suffer anyway.

  • Probably it’s already obvious, anyway we are not part of the VPN Council. Also, we have no plans to enter the council: it would jeopardize the most important asset of any VPN service like ours, the privacy of the customers. Furthermore, under a more cynical point of view, it would pose serious concerns on potential infringements of 95/46/EC (the so called Data Protection Directive – we are based in the EU) and could result in a disaster in case of a Council database leak.

    AirVPN admins

  • Agreed 🙂

    Thanks TF for a quick follow-up article to the earlier HMA one. This will be useful.. like me many others were concerned and you guys have done a commendable job!!!
    ‘Ivacy’ was looking good but their non-response to your queries does put a question over what they advertise and what they practice in reality 😦

    Edit: Thought of adding a few more points. I have used HMA, Strong VPN, VyprVPN (with Giganews). While Strong is great in terms of C/Care support, they do log for sure. But their tech support is great. Vypr was good at speed initially…now they totally suck with all the customers being added through Giganews. Also their response to TF will now keep me away. HMA – No more comments 😀

    Now someone here asked about Witopia .. My feedback..Stay Clear of them !!! Why ?? Not only are they expensive, this is what they also state in their FAQ …. Their mindset is exactly like RIAA…I couldn’t believe it when i first read it..is this really a response from a VPN provider ?

    ” Do you support torrents and P2P services? ”

    ” We’re a data security and privacy (not piracy) 🙂 company first and foremost and although torrent technology has many legitimate applications, it is often used in the trading and sharing of media files with 100,000 of your closest friends.

    It is a fact that P2P sites are often riddled with viruses, law enforcement honeypots, identity thieves, as well as, of course, copyrighted material. We also hear regularly from customers that when they subscribed to proxy services that cater to P2P activity they were sometimes attacked through these sites…. ”

    http://www.witopia.net/support…

    Also no word here for Express VPN ( http://www.expressvpn.com/ ) . I was contemplating taking their service…but a word or two about them in TF would have helped. Cheers !!!

    (Edited by author 1 year ago)

  • I’ve been using Witopia for the better part of a year now and I’ve had zero issues. I urge anyone reading this far not to run with the snap judgement of newagegeek there as they seriously have not made informed statements about the company, its service nor its performance.

  • Edit : In response to ‘Thatwitopiauser’ below :
    I agree that WiTOPIA does not have stability issues or issues with server but they are not P2P friendly. Please do check that my thoughts are provided in terms of their policies regarding p2p services – particularly BitTorrent and their own words also provided in the above link. Even Strong VPN is a solid VPN provider… but we are not looking at pricing and stability or tech support service only in this article.
    End of the day its your own money and you may still decide to go with HMA, Strong,Vypr or WiTOPIA.
    Cheers !!!

  • Witopia. Can you say honeypot??? A little research and you’ll find they are located in Washington D. C. – red flag #1. A little more research and you’ll see they share their building with the CIA. Hello – McFly?!?!?

  • ++1;

  • Hi,

    Thank you for contacting us. Firstly, the media is over reacting and exaggerating the fact that we cooperated with law enforcement agencies where we being a legitimate company being issued a UK court order on this lulzsec incident.

    We DID NOT sell any infos to any party. We are not paying anyone nor anyone is paying to release information. May i know were did you read about us selling off information anyway?

    We ONLY store logs of your original IP, date and time of connection. We DO NOT store any records on your internet activities as all the data transferred through the tunnel is encrypted anyway, we have no idea what are you accessing.

    You have to understand that what we did was helping law enforcement agencies in hunting down a cyber criminal which played a part in hacking the Sony Playstation Network, hacking into NATO military servers, defacing British newspaper The Sun and The times and many more activities which are deemed illegal and violate the law which governed the internet. A valid UK court order was being issued to us and that is only the right thing to do.

    For your info, he use of VPN does not allow one to perform illegal activities. And I can guarantee you that all VPN providers keep logs, if they claimed that they do not, they are seriously misleading you. These logs are for us to locate abusive users (spamming, bots, file sharing complaints etc etc) to prevent our VPN servers from going down due to these abuses. It is very naive for one to think that by paying $11/month you will get total anonymity where you can abuse the service however they like and performing illegal activities behind a VPN.

    There is nothing to ‘fight’ against this case as it is clearly a violation of laws in which we are a legitimate company and we DO NOT protect criminals. If we do, what’s the difference are we compared to these cyber criminals?

    You might want to read our blog on this entire Lulzsec fiasco: http://blog.hidemyass.com/2011…

    Regards,
    Joshua
    HMA! Team

    Ticket Details

  • Excellent article. I’m luckily finally in a situation where I don’t have to deal with any of these anymore, but some thoughts on names I’ve used in that list:

    – Strong VPN may log, and so is not ideal if you’re concerned entirely about privacy, but they’re absolutely FANTASTIC for avoiding technical blocks. They’ll let you use PPTP, OpenVPN, whatever. Moreover, you can go TCP/UDP for the VPN, change ports, the whole 9 yards. I had an INCREDIBLY aggressive uni ISP that would slow down anything they didn’t recognize, and strong was the only vpn that let me disguise my traffic sufficiently to get full speed. If you’re worried not about privacy but instead about shaping, I do recommend them.

    – I can’t say enough negative things about BlackLogic. They offered me an unmetered plan. They had buried within their ToS a line which said “please try to keep bandwidth reasonable” but didn’t offer any specific cap on their “unmetered” plan bandwidth usage. At some point it was decided that I used more than what they deemed reasonable, and temporarily terminated my account. They then told me that I would need to limit my bandwidth to 2GB/day or upgrade to a premium account for $50/mo (lol). I said fine, I’ll limit my bandwidth, and asked for more information about what the 2GB cap entailed (e.g. upload only? upload/download totaled?)

    They responded by permanently canceling my account and refusing to give me a refund, less than a week into the service I had bought for a month.

  • I would report them to the Better Business Bureau if you are in the US/Canada or try http://www.econsumer.gov/ to report them. That or you could take them to small claims court for breach of contract.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I personally don’t feel the need to use any vpns so far, my country is light years ahead of the us in this issue and file-sharing is not forbidden here. But it’s nice to keep track of what to use to be effectively anonymous.

  • hmm – how’s the weather there?

  • My country is light-years behind, which is also fine, since they simply don’t care about file sharers. They crack down however very hard on warez FTP (typical “pay with an overpriced SMS” services). But as a filesharer you don’t have to worry.

  • All filesharing works to an extent, it’s just a matter of how much work and performance you get on your hands in the end.

  • check Cryptocloud’s TosCryptocloud’s ToS

    No surprise, we take privacy seriously. This privacy policy isn’t filled with the usual mumbo-jumbo because we’re not afraid to say it like it is. Let the lawyers bill someone else by the word.

    When you sign up with CryptoCloud, we ask for the following information in order to complete your purchase:
    Your name (purely for billing purposes)
    Your username
    Your choice of password
    Your contact email address
    Payment Info – either creditcard, or you may use paypal

    If you prefer, we are happy to work with you to pay for your CryptoCloud service with a 100% anonymous procedure: cashier’s checks, etc. Not many customers ask for this service, but we’ve never said no to any procedure a customer suggested.

    We don’t store logs of your network activity whilst “in the Cloud.” Ever. Yes, we mean that: we do not store logs of your network activity. We don’t have a privacy policy regarding those records because we don’t keep those records. Yes, sometimes less is more.
    If you open a ticket in our support area or email us with a question, we’ll make a record of your inquiry. This record exists in an entirely separate database from our operational datasets. If you’d like, we can delete all record of your inquiry when we’ve responded. Normally we do keep those records, to help us track places ripe for improvement in our service.

    We do routine visitor traffic analysis for our public website. To do so, we keep standard Apache visitor logs in our encrypted, secure server partitions (Xen VMs). If you don’t like leaving “footprints” like this, you should sign up for a good online privacy service. . . like CryptoCloud.

    We do not sell or provide your customer information to anyone, ever. We are a 100% privately-owned company. We do not have a parent company. We are not owned by the CIA, NSA, or INTERPOL. We are happy to provide ample evidence of these assertions, if you would like to confirm them yourself via independent sources. Our business is entirely dependent on our public reputation for providing reliable, secure service to our customers – we will do nothing to jeopardize this, it benefits neither our company nor our customers.
    If you cancel your CryptoCloud service, we wipe your account information – completely – after 14 days. This includes payment information. If your payment method is having trouble during renewal, we’ll do our best to let you know so that we can get it fixed. If we can’t get ahold of you, we’ll delete your old information. Completely.

    If a law enforcement agency with proven jurisdiction over our business comes to us with a valid order from a valid judicial authority that our own corporate lawyers are able to independently verify, we will comply with that order as written. Naturally, we can’t provide information we don’t store – such as network traffic logs. We cannot be compelled to provide what we do not have.

    If a court orders us to close an account, we will do so. If a court orders us to allow them to secretly place surveillance “sniffers” on a specific account, we will fight this order to the highest judicial authority possible. If we lose, we will shut down the business and call it a day. End of story.

    No, we can’t promise that our service will be running 24/7/365. We do our best, always, but perfection is elusive. We can’t indemnify you for any economic losses if our service has an interruption and it is really inconvenient to you. We do – as standard policy – provide generous subscription extensions in the (very rare) event we have a “Situation,” i.e. network outage. We think that’s fair.

    If these terms don’t seem fair, don’t sign up for our service – when you sign up, you specifically agree to these terms. If you have questions, ask us and we’ll be glad to provide any additional data we can.

  • Now THAT’S how you gain customer loyalty!

  • Roobik 1 year ago

    What about Astrill?

  • I’m with Astrill and before I joined I asked questions very similar to TF, below is the response from Saad Atta – Astrill support.

    “We simply don’t keep any logs on our server. You can use all servers with asterisk (*), they are all good and specially optimized for P2P. We do not entertain such requests as we are not obliged to do so under Australian law.

    however, we may do so if we find a user engaged in some criminal activity.”

    (Edited by author 1 year ago)

  • WAIT… They don’t keep logs unless they find a user engaged in some criminal activity?? How would they know unless they were keeping logs?

  • Great article. I just wonder how some of these VPN providers can be so sure that they won’t be forced to hand over logs, or be forced to keep them.

    This was one of BTguard’s responses, “It’s technically unfeasible for us to maintain log files with the amount of connections we route. We estimate the capacity needed to store log files would be 4TB per day.”

    If some VPN’s keep logs for 6 months then it can be argued that it is feasible. However, if there aren’t any laws that force VPN’s to keep logs for a certain period of time then they can continue to do business as usual.

    If this is the case then I suspect that the **AA’s next move against VPN providers will be to lobby government’s around to world to enact laws that will force these services to maintain logs for 6+ months. They have already tried to force ISP’s to do this.

    I had never heard of Mullvad before but I noticed that they accept payments via BitCoin. I’ve heard arguments from technically savvy people who have said that BitCoin was never intended to be anonymous and transactions can be traced but I’ve never heard of a case where this has actually happened.

    I think that accepting payments via BitCoin adds another element of anonymity and hopefully this will catch on. The currency fluctuates quite a bit though, so coming up with a set rate might be tricky.


  • Question is, have any of these logging policies been tested? I.e., what info is there on court cases involving vpns? Can we trust the answers we’ve been
    given?

    The problem is that the setting in which such a test case is likely to arise is usage alleged to be unlawful.

    Most if not all service providers carefully limit their liability and disclaim reliance on the privacy policy in cases where the account holder engages in unlawful conduct.

    And some providers even go so far as including bad reputation or adverse regulatory action as ground for account termination or disclosure.

    The only favorable test setting I can think of is setting up a false flag operation where the account holder uses P2P to share something with the understanding of the copyright holder.

    The copyright holder then sends a DMCA complaint to the service provider in order to test how the privacy policy works in practice.

    If the provider terminates or warns the account holder, we now have solid info on
    the actual implementation of the privacy policy.

    Filing a knowingly false DMCA complaint is criminal, but since the copyright holder can’t know whether the person behind the IP address is legally entitled to share the content, testing the DMCA in this way is effective and risk free.

  • I didn’t read everything you wrote, but I totally agree with the first paragraph you wrote in bold print. The VPNs are a business. They obviously aren’t gonna tell you anything that’s going to hurt their business. You would need an independent reviewer to make a credible assessment of how secure these services are. Nonetheless this article was really enlightening. While the obviously PR friendly statements of the VPNs are alittle annoying the only thing worse was not answering the question at all. Those VPNs really look like they have something to hide.

  • This is a good point. Someone needs to test this out. I would want the vpn to also contact me if they were to get a dmca complaint. I would happily oblige and stop.

  • Well if they don’t log they can’t give any info. But feel free to test if that is the answer they give. Oh and the work being shared in the test case can be your own work of art (a one hour video of your feet) so there will be no false DMCA.

  • I think the fact that BTGuard specializes in BitTorrent which performs far more socket connections then other typically protocols and because they’re popular that they would probably amass larger logs then those that do keep logs.

  • There is a guy on the apple board and other places he spams on freenet/frost trying to sell cp using bitcoin. He won’t give it away and says use bitcoin and also everyone says he is lea. Any suggestion = bitcoin can be traced or else the lea wouldn’t be trying to get people to buy cp with it. Also I have read to run tor then a vpn over it then bitcoin by one provider, while the others just say run vpn then tor. I guess just look into it alot if ur going to use it.

  • RobinSure 1 year ago

    Question is, have any of these logging policies been tested? I.e., what info is there on court cases involving vpns? Can we trust the answers we’ve been given?

  • Good point!

  • CanadianBoy 1 year ago

    Could you post the answers of Hostizzle VPN ? its the one i’m using right now.
    http://hostizzle.com/

    Thanks for the great article TF 🙂

  • what about relakks? same as ipredator?

  • What’s with Witopia? They’re “famous” for westerners in a certain Asian country…

  • Okarin 1 year ago

    only the one taught in school, but be careful in the real world

  • astrill? 12vpn? gotrusted? witopia?

  • R.Balloon 1 year ago

    Nice work Mr.Max

  • Windoze 1 year ago

    I am currently using ibVPN’s Netherlands server and man I love it it’s fully encrypted and such. They say they don’t support P2P but that’s just to shut the industry up.

    http://www.ibvpn.com/

    (I am not an ibVPN employee or affiliate eventhough I sound like one.)

  • ThumbsUpThumbsDown 1 year ago in reply to Windoze

    “Only to shut the industry up?” Are you kidding? Sounds like what the wolf said to the virgin on the honeymoon night.

  • You don’t like opinions do you.

  • ThumbsUpThumbsDown 1 year ago in reply to Windoze

    Please forgive me. I intended no offense. I meant only to express a general warning that these VPN companies will continue to overpromise and underdeliver, and, while they’re at it, put us all at greater risk.

  • I can’t reply to your reply so I’m gonna reply to your older reply.. lol

    It’s alright I just understood you the wrong way. Maybe you are right, but ibVPN says that they keep NO logs of what you are doing. They only keep your IP to make sure you don’t lend your account to your friends I guess.

    http://www.ibvpn.com/faq.html

    Be safe. Cheers.

  • “ibVPN reserves the right to take whatever actions ibVPN deems appropriate to enforce ibVPN’s policies including, but not limited to Terms of Use.”

    “ibVPN also reserves the right to change ibVPN policies without prior notice at any time.”

    So they can screw you if they choose.

    “We do not spy on our users and we don’t monitor their Internet usage. We do not keep logs with our users’ activity. If we have reasonable grounds to suspect that an end user is involved in criminal activities, we reserve the right to notify law enforcement agencies.”

    They don’t log usage or activity, but that doesn’t mean they don’t log IPs and/or timetables.

    I would recommend not using ibVPN.

  • I’ve done a search on the NZB Matrix forums and can’t find any posts from people who have had their service terminated by VyprVPN?

    A google search also seems to bring up no results either.

    Can you post any links?

  • I can vouch for what they are saying about VyprVPN. If you’re using the service provided with GN’s Diamond package, they will also cancel your GN membership. If you request the DMCA notices, they will not give them to you either. I’d highly advise staying away from VyprVPN….and whatever you do, don’t use it with their Diamond package since they’ll cancel all of your access – not just the VPN.

  • I generally only use it to access US content on the web that is blocked in the UK (TV, Pandora etc.) I don’t use it for regular Giganews stuff or any other kind of P2P things. Just interested really, as I hadn’t heard anything like this about them and it makes me wonder why Giganews are partnering with them rather than one of the better VPN services that are listed in the article.

  • i read deep into it before and decided its a overpriced logging facility. Shit might as well seed and download from the police station. I am talking about GigaNews Vpn. Also usenet is supposed to be anonamous but ask dreamboard members and the thousands of other people who were arrested for using newsgroups and posting and even just subscribing to the news service. See Pedo News on Freenet/Frost and search back 6 months and you will see some of the articles.

  • Andy did I scan this TREASURE of an article too fast, or did you deliberately omit the UK’s HideMyAss (sic.) as a waste of space and time?

  • hey Rob, I left it out since I think we already have the answers 🙂

  • Sure, but those who share the link to this Article with non-regular TF readers may not read any other TF article, so they’ll miss out on HMA being ‘naughty’, ye ken?

  • I like mullvad, mainly because it takes bitcoins as payment..

  • I use Private Tunnel by OpenVPN for my vacations.

  • Salazasu 1 year ago

    what about your-freedom.de?

  • A German company? Over here, protection of minors and media rights trump free speach big time. German authorities are quick to raid IT-Companies for not paying a parking ticket…

    (doesn’t mean they save logs, but they will be bullied out of business in no time)

  • “We do not log what you access on the Internet; German telecommunications laws do not even permit this. We do log the fact that you have used our service, from where you have logged in to our service, the lowest 16 bit of IP addresses you have connected to (but not the full address!) and statistical data about your usage needed for accounting and quality assurance. This information is typically held on file for only a few days and no longer than 4 weeks.”

    – your-freedom AUP

  • Oh right, it’s been around since 2004 (as per news section on the site)

  • Great article Thanks very much.

    Bit of a cheak but if you made a chart showing who logs and who doesnt and for how long. Maybe have it as a link on your front page. It would be a fantastic resource.

    Cheers

  • Reuben 1 year ago

    Bolehvpn has now responded 🙂 Apologies for the late reply.

    Great work on this post!

  • I can confirm BolehVPN responded a little while ago and they don’t log at all.

  • Out of 4 VPN’s we listed at GT as ‘safe and problem-free’ only the Malaysian-based bolehVPN has so far survived the last year. So your article is awfully helpful to boost our emaciated list Andy.

    Victims falling foul of bad reports from our Members who’d experienced trouble or no response/help from customer services were –

    hidemyass
    ipredator
    itshidden

  • Hey Rob,
    Sorry for my ignorance but what is GT?

  • @Reuben I believe ur answer is only a quick google away

  • correction: google *search* away

  • I’d like to know what GT is about too, so I can compare VPN providers.

  • Article update?…

  • What’s with perfect-privacy.com ?

  • Great service there! It can be a bit slower than some others (and a bit more expensive), but you won’t be able to beat it if you want ultimate privacy. They don’t log at all, but more importantly, everyone is given the IP address of the VPN server when connected. So, at any given time, 100 people might have the same IP address, which makes tracking much harder – especially with no logs.

  • I remember reading about this vpn where a group of pedos were using it and they gave out all of their information and they were v’d. Google it. Also the company should change their name to Perfect-arrest.com instead.

  • They accept paysafecard… So I don’t see how they could track you if you sign up with a ame email address and name…

  • Fake not “ame” stupid spellcorrector…

  • Googled it, couldn’t find nothing.. please confirm your source. I think what really happened is law enforcement raided the server (without Perfect-Privacy’s knowledge) and started sniffing packets. International governments have been know to take extreme actions such as this..depending on the severity of the crime. AFAIK no VPN is bulletproof enough to defend against that sort of threat!

  • The perfect-privacy admin lives in Germany which is the weakest link 😦

  • Anon12424 1 year ago

    Now THIS is an awesome list TF! Cheers!

  • Civilian 1 year ago

    So as far as I can tell from this list, ItsHidden gives the most clear answer stating you are protected?

  • There is PrivacyProtector.eu
    Our RiccoVPN works like using Internet over Skype-like network. We do not have logs, as we do not handle any traffic. We do not have any servers either – so there is nothing to block by ISP or jam with traffic. No Login, No Pass is needed, no traffic quota. We offer FREE service as well.
    Despite many contact attempts we where not invited by TF to participate in this pool, that’s a real shame.

  • Interesting. So whose servers are used then? And could “the media” set up such servers and log usage?

  • Hi Blazej

    We looked at your system 6 months ago but couldn’t really see why your solution needed to be so complex. If you want to contact us with a *simple* description of how your system works, especially the use of peers, we’ll take another look

  • Hi Enigmax,
    I didn’t know complexity is bad, especially for You guys 😉 I’ve sent all info to Ernesto, but I guess I was trying too much. If You don’t mind I will describe it here, so anyone can read it.

    So as we all know VPN is straight forward: desktop client (or OS account) -> vpn server (logs) -> Web. We know all the risks here.
    Our solution in essence is a gateless VPN: we successfully combined P2P and VPN technology. It works like using Internet over Skype: we shred transmission, heavily encrypt all fragments and sent over multiple routes at once. Every connection goes in different way, through different nodes of our P2P network, means You can access the same website from several different IP’s at once. Since it’s random and can go through many countries, recreating Your traffic is nearly impossible. Bigger network, more random and faster it gets. With country IP selection management – means if You want to listed to Pandora You just select US IP address and viola! IP access limitations of most web services are not effective with our software. Our client does not require any config, we install our own virtual network driver intercepting all incoming and outgoing WAN connections, bypassing LAN traffic.
    You can check if this is true: try now http://demo.privacyprotector.e…, and refresh with RiccoVPN connected. Or use any other IP-check tool. More advanced: sniff transmissions made through our soft and You can see if we do as we say.
    All: feel free to as any questions at support(at)privacyprotector.eu

  • Failstation 1 year ago

    By not answering this survey, VPNTunnel.se just lost a customer. Yes, it’s simple as that.

  • Why not? I’ve been using it and have not had any issues…

  • We’ve always heard good things about VPNTunnel.se but if they don’t respond to emails we can’t include them. Maybe we’ll do a follow up sometime…we’re overrun with VPN providers emailing us now

  • On the wesite of vpntunnel is written:

    Is any trafficdata stored? No, our policy is to care for our users integrity, therefore we do not store your real IP, we do not store any trafficdata, all that we store is your E-mail address and your username.

    Can someone find out my real IP address? No, since we do not store your real IP or any trafficdata, it is not possible to link the IP that you receive from us to your real IP.

    Will any of my information be disclosed to third parties? It is not a choice that we make. Since we do not have any information (except E-mail and username) we are simply not capable to hand out any information that could jeopardize the integrity of any of our users.

    I am still waiting for a reply from them, but since it is the weekend….

  • It doesn’t surprise me that they didn’t respond to the questions. They are quick to respond to simple questions. However when I opened a support ticket about why their featured connection guard program wasn’t working I was given a canned answer, when I followed up they didn’t respond, ignored me and closed the ticket. However their service runs great I can get about 25mbs down in NA, but their support leaves something to be desired.

  • A followup article would be great. At least now that more providers are contacting you guys. Would be nice to get them on the list.

  • I have just written to vpntunnel directly and I hope for a reply soon so I do not have to change vpn supplier. I will post the reply here, if I receive one!

  • VPNtunnel has servers in Europe and in the US. As a customer, you have the choice of which you connect to. In the US, they are legally bound to keep records, while in Sweden they are not legally bound to and do not log activity. I did ask them about this as I was concerned about my privacy. I only connect to the Swedish server (their largest and probably fastest). It’s a great VPN.

  • The fact that they did not reply does not worry me. They clearly state their logging policy on their site. As described above,if you use the swedish servers you are not logged. I am glad I did ditch vyprvpn for them though. Also ditched giganews for astraweb due to cost. For $15 I get the same services (vpn and nntp) I got at giganews for double the price (and I they log me). Easy decision.

  • FACT: There’s NO legal requirement for web services to log anything in the U.S. If they’re telling you that, it means they’re just feeding you a line of B.S.–probably because they’re a bunch of spineless cowards who are afraid to stand up to those scumbag American lawyers and tell them to get lost!

  • +1 Mullvad for accepting Bitcoin

  • +1 AirVPN as well for accepting Bitcoin payments (although not stated above, it is on their website – https://airvpn.org/index.php?o…

  • Indeed, great article, hope the list can expand in the future 🙂

    Good to know wich VPN providers to trust.

  • Anyone know when ipredator will start to offer openvpn?

  • I agree that this is a great list and am SO pleased to know this about the logging of these particular VPN companies, thank you TF! I wish, however, that one more question was added to the list, that concerning means of payment, and how it might possibly link up to an individual that some 3rd party might be wanting to extract from the VPN provider. Question 1 might have covered that somewhat, but I had hoped for more revelations on that particular point, as it is practically impossible to pay for VPN anonymously, at least in the U.S.

  • Violated0 1 year ago

    I use CyberGhost VPN and they don’t keep logs meaning no data to give out.

    One aspect that is ignored though in these questions is that a court can directly order a VPN service to track a user. It would need a deeper study if local law would do such for copyright infringement. Those LulzSec and Anonymous people need even better.

  • Thats a good point, but I’m assuming a VPN provider will advise u to stop using ht vpn service well before something like this is a court issue

  • Think this is one of the best articles TF has ever done, especially relevant in light of what hidemyass did, bookmarked this page already.

    As a heavy torrent user, would be good if this article was made into a page from the main link section at the top of the page with a comparison of the providers. Would also be useful to know for each provider if it could be classed as:

    A) Standard VPN Connection provider
    B) Preconfigured utorrent client like BT Guard
    C) Custom software like hidemyass that kills connections if the VPN goes down
    D) Custom software like hidemyass but DOES NOT kill connections if VPN goes down

    Just did a search on youtube for Mullvad as never heard of it and saw they were using some software called webtrust from http://www.webtrust.se. It disconnects torrents if the VPN line goes down so maybe worth looking at for anyone who uses a normal VPN.

    Myself, I’ve tried BTGuard in the past, great speeds, but still blocked on USA sites like HULU as obviously BTGuard isnt a VPN provider so not really a fair opinion.

    Currently with hidemyass (reconsidering in light of whats happened), love the fact they kill all apps if the VPN goes down, but cant see me sticking with them after the Lulzsec incident.

  • yes hidemyass should be shut down or name changed to WeSuckAmericasDickVPN or maybe WeLoveUSFBI.com and that should help them get suctomers aka not.

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(This article was taken from the TorrentFreak.com website. Thanks!)

(This article was taken from Amber Lyon’s blog. Thanks!)

President Obama Has Turned Journalists into Criminals

  • Posted on October 16, 2012

Will tonight’s presidential debate moderator have the balls to address this crucial issue?

If by “change” President Obama meant criminalizing journalism in the United States, then he’s succeeded.

Why should you care?  The investigative journalism that Obama has silenced could have exposed more corruption in the U.S. government, military, banking industry; corruption that has caused anguish to numerous Americans.  The reports that will never be heard, read, or seen on TV may have led to positive change.

The Obama administration is suffocating investigative journalism at an alarming rate through the abuse of the Espionage Act of 1917, an act more prone to be used to protect government secrecy than national security.  Before Obama, the act had been used only three times total since 1917.  The current administration has used it six times to go after whistleblowers and the journalists who protect and reveal their information.

President Obama was bold enough to use the Espionage Act to  subpoena New York Times journalist James Risen in an attempt to force him to ‘give up’ information on a CIA whistleblower.  Risen accused the administration of trying to silence journalists and refused to acquiesce stating,

“Can you have a democracy without aggressive investigative journalism? I don’t believe you can, and that’s why I’m fighting.”

Risen predicted Obama’s attack against him would have an unprecedented chilling effect on mainstream investigative journalism in the US.  He was right.

I was on the brunt end of the Obama-generated censorship while employed at CNN as an investigative correspondent.

On at least a weekly basis, and to my constant frustration, my superiors and CNN’s lawyers were quick to remind me that we need to be extra careful because “President Obama has gone after more journalists and whistleblowers than any president in history”.  The leash around my neck began to tighten.

Whether I was allowed to embark on future stories or even interview sensitive sources for potential investigations, eventually became an ‘Obama subpoena risk assessment’ and potential court cost calculation, rather than a pure evaluation of the report’s contribution to public good or our journalistic duty to cover the story.

Some of my most crucial investigations were killed before they started because they were too high a risk of an Obama subpoena.

One boss told me quote “we know how the FBI feels about your source, if we have information the FBI will want we become a target”.

David Carr of The New York Times noted Obama’s war on journalism may have more to do with secrecy than national security and is harming press freedom in the U.S.:

As journalists we vow never to reveal our confidential sources, so to this administration we are criminals.  It’s time President Obama focused his time hunting down the real law breakers rather than attacking the messengers.

For more information please check out these articles:

Huffington Post: Obama’s War on Journalism 

NY Times: Blurred Line Between Espionage and Truth

Salon.com : Obama Targets Journalists 

This is an excellent example of how the government, or in this case, a corporation, can seriously fuck with your life without any good (reasonable) legal premise to do so. If you have comparatively unlimited resources, like government and large corporations do as compared to the average person, you can seriously damage a person’s work life, reputation, finances, family, etc. practically at will. They may not ultimately win the case, but they’ve essentially destroyed the person’s life in the meantime. And perhaps more importantly, they’ve sent a chilling message to anyone else that dares to blow the whistle on the government or a corporation.

This is judicial system fraud perpetrated by elite arrogant pricks that are essentially above the law because they have money. There is no way to stop it because it is built into our legal system. In other words, this is legal fraud. The elite have spent, and continue to spend, lots of money in the effort of writing laws and protecting laws ensuring they have and keep this option with impunity.

And where is the mainstream press when it comes to cases like this? The press should be putting things like this on the front page, pounding on it until resolved. But generally, if they talk about it at all, they’ll present the story in a way that’s ultimately twisted towards the side of the corporation or government. In other words, since the press is largely controlled by the government and corporations, they run away with their tail between their legs rather than stand up for what is right and fair and just. Cowards. But to be fair, because of their bosses, they don’t have much of a choice unless someone is willing to give up their career to stand up and fight. Even then, it’s generally just a little flair-up int the news that also gets twisted by mainstream media, and/or is quickly forgotten, ignored and buried.

(The article below was taken from the ActivistPost.com website. Thanks!)

Years in Jail for Exposing A Corporate Mistake?

Luke Rudkowski got a chance to meet and interview well-known hacker, Andrew Auernheimer, also known by his pseudonym, Weev. Weev was recently convicted for two felonies and currently is free on bail until sentencing, The court convicted him on one count of identity fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization. In this interview Weez explains what lead to these charges and how he is dealing with the situation.

View the YouTube Video. To find out more about Weev check out his website: http://freeweev.info/

(The following article was taken from the freeweev.info site. Thanks!)

I know this guy, “weev”. Real name: Andrew Auernheimer. He is almost always offensive. He constantly says things that brutally offend my liberal sensibilities. He never takes anything seriously and generally treats life as a piece of performance art. He’s undisciplined and lazy. I can’t believe I count him amongst my acquaintances, but he’s very charming and funny at a dinner party. That doesn’t really change how gigantic of a jackass he is. As the world’s most notorious Internet troll, his ability to repulse is quite high.

Unfortunately, it has become essential to our first amendment freedoms to keep this jackass troll out of jail.

In June of 2010, there was a public AT&T webserver that was publishing iPad 3G user email addresses. When I say “publishing”, I mean it. This thing had no password, no firewall, no authorization mechanism stopping any member of the public from collecting this data. One man, Daniel Spitler, collected a sample of this data. He brought it to Andrew Auernheimer. Andrew gave it to a journalist because he feels that when a big company puts you at risk, you deserve to know about it and the company responsible deserves to be held to account and publicly shamed.

As his reward for performing a public service, Andrew is now facing two consecutive 5-year felonies. No good deed goes unpunished.

Much more worrisome than the injustice that Andrew is receiving is the precedent it creates against us. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, isn’t just a criminal statute, it is civil. Andrew’s co-defendant accessed a publicly available webserver and Andrew gave the data to a single journalist. This means that any time you visit a URL if the web operator later decides they just don’t like you, you may face prison.

You may also just get sued by a gigantic company with more resources than you.

 THE CHARGES

Andrew is indicted on two charges, USC 1030 “Conspiracy to access a computer device without authorization” in furtherance of a violation of a New Jersey state statute. The New Jersey state statute includes the language “discloses”, which means the federal government is saying that the very act of giving something to a journalist to inform the public is a criminal act. This represents an extremely dangerous prior restraint upon free speech. Beyond that, if you run any sort of business that touches the Internet at all, you should be concerned about the language behind USC 1030. If you query an API that a company makes public as part of their web app, and later they decide that your technology is too disruptive or you provide competition to a feature they’re planning, they can have you imprisoned or sued.

Andrew is also charged with USC 1028, “identity theft”, for possessing a list of email addresses. The statute is so broad that it criminalizes possessing home addresses, which means you’re a criminal every time you walk down the block of a suburb and look at house numbers.

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” – Thomas Paine, Dissertation on First Principles of Government

Regardless of what you think of Andrew’s identity, associations or politics, you must understand the urgency of helping fight the case against him. The interpretation the justice department is putting forward in this case affects everyone that opens a web browser, writes a web app that references external APIs or talks to a journalist about any externally acquired data. This case reeks of dangerous prior restraint upon free speech, and a guilty verdict that sticks will harm the free and open internet as badly as SOPA/PIPA would have.

Legal defense costs money. Federal criminal defense generally takes a hundred thousand dollars. By helping Andrew you safeguard your own liberties from the assault of a tyrannical government. Andrew needs a large amount of money. Please consider giving a donation or a loan.

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur ("The thing itself speaks")

Amber Lyon

"Well-behaved women seldom make history..."

Writings of J. Todd Ring

Independent Research and Analysis, Essays in Politics and Philosophy.

________________Child Health Safety_________________

The facts about vaccine safety your government won't give you