You’ve heard the rumors and now you’re looking for answers, right? Apparently, some VPN providers have been known to sell service users’ data. Is it the paid services or just the free VPN services that are known for this misleading behavior and why do they do it? We’re going to tell you everything you need to know.
Some VPN providers have been known to sell users’ data to third-party sources to make money. Your VPN provider can track your online activity and can watch your user traffic. People who take their privacy seriously should consider using a paid and secure VPN provider.
It’s a real shame that when you sign up with a company that was curated with the promise of protecting your privacy they don’t deliver on that promise. Unfortunately, there are some VPN providers out there that do sell your data to make ends meet. Keep reading below to find out how, why, and which VPN providers sell your data.
Do VPN Providers Sell Your Data?
Both some of the paid and free VPN service providers have been known to sell user data. VPNs can track your internet activity, they can log your internet activity, and they can sell your privacy to third-party sites that want to advertise and sell you more products.
VPNs are known for providing people with access to geo-restricted content by masking their server and IP address which also provides their private information with protection from hackers, malware, and cookies.
The problem is, not all VPN providers are true to their word and while they do encrypt your IP address to give you access to content that isn’t usually accessible to you, they also track and sell your data.
Why VPN Providers Sell Your Data
Free VPN providers, however, need to be able to afford the rent for the servers they use. So while they’re giving you access to content you want and allowing you to pursue information you wouldn’t usually be able to reach through blocks and firewalls, your privacy security isn’t their main concern.
Here are a few reasons why VPN providers sell your data:
- Running a VPN service is not cheap
- VPN providers make money by allowing third parties access to track your data
- They get paid through advertisement revenue
- To entice users to sign up for their paid VPN service by offering a higher level of privacy and security
The only reason that VPN providers will sell your data is for their own benefit. To get paid, and to continue using the servers they rent to provide an ongoing service to their unknowing customers while making a profit off selling your information.
How do VPN Services Sell Your Data?
When you sign up for anything there are usually a few personal details required, like your full name, email address, and occasionally your payment details. Yes, even for free services, they might often ask for payment details as a “security” measure.
The second you offer up an email address, all privacy is lost because you’ve essentially just granted providers permission to use your information for online marketing.
One of the main reasons for signing up to use a VPN, other than gaining access to geo-restricted content, is to protect your personal privacy while sending and receiving data online. VPN providers will use this as the main selling point to get your attention and your services, but they may very well just use this information to get money elsewhere.
Data-driven technology and online marketing and advertisement tech giants will pay good money for a VPN provider to hand over service users’ personal information so they can target their advertisements towards a wider audience.
When you sign up with your VPN with your email address and some other personal information, your VPN will track your usage and online traffic and with the data stored for your ISP, they hand it over to the tech giants in exchange for a fee that allows them to pay for their server use.
- They share your email address
- They can reroute other servers through yours and allow for cybercrime activities to exit through your ISP address making it look as though you have been involved in illegal activity
- Through tracking cookies that you willingly accept to gain access to a page
- By gaining control of your smartphone and keeping tabs on your history
- Harvesting and selling your location, hardware device, and personal service user information to data mining companies
- If you do happen to sign up to a paid VPN service, they can also log and sell your payment information if you’re not careful enough to sign up to a reputable company
Is it Allowed for VPN Providers to Sell Your Data?
You would think that when signing up for a company’s services that are supposed to protect your data and personal information it would be illegal for them to sell it.
No, in most cases it is not illegal for your VPN provider to sell your information. It will only be illegal if there is nothing about them doing this written in the terms of service when you sign up.
Always check and read through the terms of service very carefully to ensure the company you sign up with does not allow for your data to be sold to third parties.
There have been numerous VPN snooping and selling data to third-party incidents, yet companies continue to advertise their ‘secure’ VPN services to people willing to risk it.
VPN services cost money for the providers, so hoping they will give you a service for free might be wishful thinking on your part.
Choosing a VPN service with a genuinely above-average reputation and audited certifications will be the best thing you can do for your privacy, but you should also never assume that they have your security and best interests at heart either.
VPN services can track your data and they can sell your personal information to outside sources so that they can receive money to continue providing a service for their customers.