A VPN connection can be the difference between anonymity exposure. It can be the difference between having your logs exposed to anyone who as much as cares to take a peek or simply having no trail online.
For people who live under authoritarian regimes and who need to pass out messages to the free world, trusting a VPN means you are trusting the company with your life, and that of the people around you.
There is no perfect way to know if you can really trust your VPN provider. In fact, there is very little you can do to verify that your VPN provider is upholding their end of the deal.
The industry as of the moment is running on simple trusts and associated brand reputations. Unless you can literally walk into your VPN provider’s office and ask to inspect the logs and networking, there’s pretty much nothing you can do.
BUT there are measures you can take to reduce the risk of using a VPN provider who does not provide as much as they claim to. One is by using a VPN that has a long standing reputation.
We are not suggesting that the new guys are inferior, we are just pointing out that if a VN has been around for a while and for that time has kept a good reputation then maybe they can be trusted. Perhaps they have a lot to lose should it be found that they are not who they claim to be.
The other measure is to use a VPN provider associated with a bigger parent company. Again, where the provider has a lot to lose due to bad publicity, the provider will be motivated to uphold the trust extended by the clients. The best way for the VPN provider to make sure that the bad reputation does not harm all the companies to have no bad reputation in the first place.
If you absolutely find that you are not able to trust a VPN provider then you can apply additional measures such as sacrificing from within TOR. That way your traffic gets routed around the globe for a while and makes it hard top trace. The other was is to use two VPN providers such that none of the providers has the full picture of what is going on.
While these methods can be effective, we recognize that sometimes the best judge is your gut feeling. If you feel that a certain provider is safer for you then by all means that should be your choice.