Private Internet Access (PIA), my VPN of choice, just made a gutsy move that any of us who use the service are applauding, and one I’ll wager will also pay off with heightened awareness of their service.
You may have heard about a new “anti-terror” law that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law this past week. At its core the law dictates that communication companies doing business in Russia will have to keep a record of their users’ calls, text messages, photos, and internet activity for six months, and store ‘metadata’ for three years, according to the International Business Times.
Since PIA’s servers in Russia keep no logs—and key to the PIA service is that do not log any traffic or usage by customers on any of their servers—the Russian government seized their servers!
This is what was sent out late yesterday to PIA customers:
To Our Beloved Users,
The Russian Government has passed a new law that mandates that every provider must log all Russian internet traffic for up to a year. We believe that due to the enforcement regime surrounding this new law, some of our Russian Servers (RU) were recently seized by Russian Authorities, without notice or any type of due process. We think it’s because we are the most outspoken and only verified no-log VPN provider.
Luckily, since we do not log any traffic or session data, period, no data has been compromised. Our users are, and will always be, private and secure.
Upon learning of the above, we immediately discontinued our Russian gateways and will no longer be doing business in the region.
To make it clear, the privacy and security of our users is our number one priority. For preventative reasons, we are rotating all of our certificates. Furthermore, we’re updating our client applications with improved security measures to mitigate circumstances like this in the future, on top of what is already in place. In addition, our manual configurations now support the strongest new encryption algorithms including AES-256, SHA-256, and RSA-4096.
All Private Internet Access users must update their desktop clients at https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/client-support/ and our Android App at Google Play. Manual openvpn configurations users must also download the new config files from the client download page.
We have decided not to do business within the Russian territory. We’re going to be further evaluating other countries and their policies.
In any event, we are aware that there may be times that notice and due process are forgone. However, we do not log and are default secure against seizure.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued support and helping us fight the good fight.
Private Internet Access Team