i2Coalition creates alliance of major VPN providers to form VPN Trust Initiative

Last updated: October 20, 2020
i2Coalition

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Companies behind such names as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, VyprVPN, and IPVanish have united to form VPN Trust Initiative (VTI). This new organization aims to improve online privacy and security for consumers.

VTI is already the fifth initiative for the i2Coalition, connecting key players across different tech fields. Together, hosting companies, data centers, and related internet network infrastructure creators ensure that those who build it also have a voice in public policy.

What is the VPN Trust Initiative about?

VTI is a self-regulating platform for cooperation in the VPN industry. It’s also a way to promote new standards and best practices by communicating with legislators, technologists, and end-users. VPN Trust Initiative is an authoritative voice that aims to strengthen public trust in VPN technologies. They promote general cybersecurity awareness and answer such questions as: what is a VPN, how it works, and how to use it efficiently.

Nearly one-third of internet users have utilized either a VPN or a proxy in the last month, and experts believe these numbers will only rise in the future. This means that the challenge of providing a safe and private online experience is rising and this initiative is a step towards maintaining high-quality standards in the face of ever-growing demand. The $36.5 billion industry is expected to exceed $50 billion in the next four.

Here’s what i2Coalition’s Co-Founder Christian Dawson had to say about VTI:

VPNs are a foundational technology for a safer internet, so it’s important that VPN providers adhere to best practices. However, it’s also important that new legislation doesn’t inadvertently limit the effectiveness of VPNs.

With NetProtect’s products IPVanish, StrongVPN, and SaferVPN registered in the US or US-friendly countries, the latter is already an issue that the VTI is facing and hopefully will deal with.

VTI members leading by example

Quite a few VPNs, including most VTI members, have already been showing they are serious about their users’ safety.

ExpressVPN requested independent audits and transferred to RAM-only servers, NordVPN had their no-logs policy affirmed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and VyprVPN, in addition to owning all of their servers, also has an audit-backed logging policy. When it comes to Surfshark, they’ve done an independent audit of its Chrome and Firefox browser extentions.

It’s nice to see that the founding VTI members are leading by example.

An initiative from outside

Truth to be told, this is not the only (and probably not the first) initiative of such sorts. A few days back, IVPN service launched a new page dedicated to ethics, calling competitors to adhere to it by being 100% honest with their customers.

So while VTI is yet to have its own website, IVPN is already calling for no tracking tools, no paid reviews, and no conflicts of interest. They even go so far as describing their own marketing methods and marking 4 out of 7 as unacceptable. Finally, there’s a list of different channels, graded from ethical to unethical.

Yet the VPN Trust Initiative is certainly the most significant entity in that it connects some of the biggest names on the VPN market.

What does the future hold for VTI?

According to Dawson: “This initiative offers a vital and unique opportunity for the industry to come together as a collective and spearhead real awareness, education, and progress.”

With such great goals set upon themselves, a struggle is likely, at least in the short-term. After all, VTI members are from all around the world, which somewhat complicates the process.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if the VTI becomes a force in online policy-making. Who knows, maybe in the future users will be buying VPNs created only by member companies? But for now, let’s wait and see what the first real action of this organization will be.

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