VPN Company Policies: We Read Them For You!
Who takes time to read Terms and Conditions anyway? No one except the most security-conscious do so, and even then only a handful of them get past the first paragraph of legalese.
And yet, that’s what we do for you in our reviews, so that we make sure you’re not falling prey to some predatory company policies. VPNs are supposed to have your back, and protect you, not turn you into a commodity.
We’ve already talked about how important privacy and logging policies are for VPN end-users. It’s even more important, of course, that these providers adhere to the letter of their policies.
“Company policies”, however, are a bit different. They are unwritten policies, but you can get wind of them by understanding the business of these VPNs.You see, while subscription payments are the bread and butter of the top VPN services, many in the middle and lower ranks aren’t exactly transparent about how they get their income. Since no one can see what goes on inside the VPN tunnel, you can’t really tell for sure whether your data is being pilfered in any other way. By knowing more about the company and its dealings, you can find out how more or less trustworthy a VPN service is before committing to subscribe to them.
And boy, knowing about these companies can tell quite an interesting story.
VPN Empires — They Exist!
Just as with almost any other service online, many VPN companies are owned by mother corporations. And as with many mother corporations, many of them have more than one VPN company in their roster! The most “prolific” of these VPN empires is AnchorFree, which owns seven VPN products including recognizable names as Hotspot Shield, Betternet, and TouchVPN.
Czech cybersecurity giant Avast is also in the game, being the mother company not only of Avast and its sister antivirus AVG VPNs but also of HideMyAss and Zen VPN. Unlike AnchorFree that doesn’t have much by way of name recalls, Avast is an established leader in its field hence its foray into multiple VPN products isn’t dubious.
Don’t confuse Avast’s Zen VPN with ZenMate, a completely different VPN service under the mantle of Kape Technologies, which also created the more famous CyberGhost VPN! ZenMate came by way of acquisition, which just demonstrates that the policies and politics of other technology companies also apply to VPN services.
Some VPN providers also have parent companies with more unusual ventures. Take, for example, StackPath — one of the bigger cybersecurity companies few have heard of. They own StrongVPN, IPVanish, and Encrypt.me. They also provide white labelled VPN services to some companies, including a product called VPNHub… the VPN used by another giant web “service” with “hub” in its name.
What does this all mean for me?
Generally, a parent company having multiple services is a good sign of the robustness of its infrastructure. That means the backbone is more reliable, being able to support that many servers and connections at once. But therein lies the rub, as your connection may actually be going through the infrastructure of more than one VPN without you realizing it. This gets worse if the VPN services have different logging policies, meaning your information could be being collected without your consent!
It’s shaky territory, to say the least, but our reviews are geared towards helping you stay on firm ground. We’ll raise the red flags wherever they may be, so that when you sign up for our unbiased recommendations you know you can use the services with peace of mind.