Our data is a commodity these days. There are so many groups who want to get their hands on it, from advertisers to government authorities to cybercriminals. This makes it more important than ever to protect your privacy.
But what happens when the very tech that’s supposed to be keeping you protected online collects your data, too? Here’s everything you need to know about no-log VPNs:
What is a no-log VPN?
A VPN encrypts the data your device sends and receives while you’re online. This allows you to browse the web anonymously and is particularly useful in many circumstances, for example, when you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
During the encryption process, your data is sent to a VPN server. This is where the VPN provider gets the chance to see your unencrypted data. Unfortunately, some VPN providers that appear trustworthy, actually record (collect logs on) this data to sell on to third parties.
A no-log VPN, however, does no such thing. If it is truly logless it won’t collect data on your browsing history, personal information, your search history nor your download history. Thus, you retain your anonymity.
Why do you need a no-log VPN?
The whole point of a VPN is to give you the ability to browse the web privately and anonymously. Your activities should be private, even from your VPN provider. If it logs your data, you aren’t anonymous anymore and so this defeats the object. For this reason, reputable VPN providers adhere to a no-logs policy.
Another reason to use a VPN is to prevent hackers from intercepting your traffic and stealing your data. If your VPN provider has a database of its users’ personal information, would this not be an appealing target for hackers? So, if the VPN provider is compromised, hackers could gain access to your personal data which they can then use as they please.
There’s also the risk that government authorities will be able to view your browsing activity if your VPN collects logs. Countries within the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances have the power to surveil the online activity of their citizens and share intelligence with their allies.
There have been instances in which government agencies have tried to compel a VPN provider to share records on its users, for instance when Turkish authorities seized the servers of ExpressVPN only to find nothing useful. At the end of the day, if the provider doesn’t keep logs then it has absolutely nothing to share with the authorities.
How can you be sure a VPN doesn’t collect logs?
Some VPNs claim to be no-log. But what they really mean is that they don’t keep traffic logs. They might still collect connection logs. This refers to metadata, such as which VPN servers you connect to, timestamps for when you connect or disconnect and how much data you transfer.
Which VPNs Collect Logs?
- Hotspot Shield
- Kapersky VPN
- Avast Secureline
This list is by no means exhaustive. It’s just to highlight the fact that some of the most popular VPNs on the market keep logs.
The importance of performing extensive research before you make a commitment cannot be stressed enough. Never forget to read the fine print. This is the only way to ensure the ultimate level of privacy and anonymity.