Is Your VPN Really Private? Guess Again, Many Top Services Are Owned By China And Pakistan

Is your VPN truly private? A recent study revealed that many VPN services are owned by companies that are based in China and Pakistan. User data could potentially be shared or sold to governments with notoriously poor privacy laws.

VPN Pro recently investigated the VPN market and uncovered quite a bit of hidden information. At least 97 VPN services are owned or operated by only 23 companies. Their findings are concerning for a variety of legal, personal, privacy and security reasons.

vpn mobile device

First, 29 or roughly 30% of the world’s top VPN services are owned by companies based in China. Another 7 VPN services are owned by Gaditek, a Pakistani company. Many national governments could potentially access a user’s information, but China and Pakistan are particularly infamous for their coercive privacy laws. The Pakistani government is able to access any data without a warrant. These countries could demand that the VPN services share their users’ information and potentially endanger them. This could prove disastrous for journalists, human rights activities, and whistleblowers and also ordinary citizens.

Second, VPN Pro found it incredibly difficult to piece together who owned which VPN services. Their findings were a hodgepodge of company listings, resumes, geolocations, and a wide variety of other documentation. This means that users could be utilizing a VPN service without necessarily knowing that their privacy is in danger.

Third, users may not realize that their VPN service is connected to other shady behavior. VPN Pro discovered that Kape Technologies on the Isle of Man was formerly known as Crossrider. Crossrider was notorious for adware and hijacking. This information was rather difficult to uncover and has been purposely obscured by the company. Would users still utilize Kape Technologies’ services if they knew about its past actions? Check the map below for specific detail where server VPN parent companies reside.

vpnpro vpn company world map
Map of VPN Company Parent Locations, Image via VPN Pro

Lastly, what happens to all of these interconnected services if one of the companies is investigated? For example, Kape Technologies also owns Romanian VPN provider CyberGhost VPN and and German VPN provider ZenMate. If Kape Technologies was investigated by British authorities, would they also need to hand over data from CyberGhost VPN and ZenMate? What if the reverse situation occurs? A representative from CyberGhost VPN insisted that they are under Romanian jurisdiction, but other cases have indicated that legal procedures are far from clear.

The United States government is taking some measures to prevent foreign servers from redirecting traffic and stealing data. Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden are leading an investigation on the issue. Although President Trump recently lifted the ban on Huawei, many American lawmakers continue to treat Chinese companies with suspicion. At the moment, all most consumers can do is to research before selecting a VPN.
Tags:  Privacy, China, VPN, pakistan