Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) grants users the ability to create a private network from a public internet connection thus providing anonymity and privacy, but what users do not know is nearly a third of the world’s top Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers are secretly owned by Chinese companies.
A study by VPNpro shows that the top ninety-seven (97) VPNs are secretly run by twenty-three (23) parent companies of which six (6) are Chinese, while others belong to companies based in countries with lax privacy laws.
These six (6) companies based in China offer several VPN services however the information on the parent company is usually undisclosed to consumers.
The Chinese company Innovative Connecting owns three (3) individual businesses that produce VPN applications the study shows; Lemon Cove, All Connected, and Autumn Breeze 2018.
Innovative Technologies has ten (10) VPN products under its belt some of which are; Turbo VPN, VPN Master, VPN Proxy Master, and VPN Proxy Master Lite.
Ownership of several VPN services by a single company is not unusual. However, the reason for concern from VPNpro is the location of these countries with a lot of them based in countries with lax or non-existent privacy laws.
According to VPNpro, governments of these countries can legally access data without the need for a warrant, and this data can easily be given out to foreign institutions. This would enable the government and other organizations to monitor users and their online activity, putting several individuals such as human rights activists and journalists at great risk.
“Many VPN users would be shocked to know that the data held on them could be legally requested by governments in countries like China and Pakistan’’ said Laura Kirnelija Inamediniova, a research analyst at VPNpro.
“We are not accusing any of these companies of doing anything underhand. However, we are concerned that so many VPN providers are not fully transparent about who owns them and where they are based” she went on to add.