With the number of VPN providers gradually increasing, so does the number of those VPN providers that promise “no logging” and “online anonymity” while in fact the way they handle your data is not so much transparent. Some of these VPN providers retain a significant amount of user data despite the fact that they advertise they do not keep any and also they state that they “don’t keep any logs” without providing further explanation.
Actually these VPN providers are forcing their clients to focus on the “anonymity promise” while they should really focus on transparency, reliability and performance.
Here is a list of 5 myths regarding VPN anonymity:
I retain online anonymity
Every service contains at least some small part of information for distinguishing the various users. This can be either your IP address or your wallet (Bitcoin). Of course this type of information may not reveal anything on its own, but combined with other information it can be used to identify an individual. Furthermore, as it is stated in various articles, use of Tor and Bitcoin does not offer you anonymity.
Privacy and anonymity are the same
If you are looking for a realistic goal, this can be the online privacy via secure communications. Using privacy tools like Tor, VPNs, encrypted messaging clients will help to defend yourself against mass surveillance but all these tools, even combined, cannot provide you anonymity.
When VPN providers advertise an “anonymous” service, they don’t retain any user identifying logs
Actually one UK VPN provider was known to have turned over customer information to the authorities (LulzSec hacker) despite the fact that it advertised to be offering anonymous services.
When VPN providers advertise that they “don’t log”, I have assured anonymity
A “no logging” promise by a VPN provider does not guarantee privacy and anonymity as in order to have an optimized system and network you need to have at least some minimal logging. Any network or systems engineer can confirm that.
I can still be anonymous even if my VPN provider uses hosted or cloud-based servers
Any engineer maintaining a server infrastructure can confirm that retaining such an infrastructure with no logs is close to impossible. Most VPN providers rent their resources (network and servers) from a hosting company and do not use their own infrastructure, so as you understand there is no guarantee that the hosting company will respect the privacy of the VPN users.
BUT, never the less, don’t be afraid by these “sharp” myths being revealed above – their are VPNs out there that really care about users’ online anonymity. Hide.me is one such VPN, if we were to name one top player here.