Choosing between different VPN services might seem like a tedious and daunting task. They all offer complete online privacy, high-end encryption tools, lightning-fast speeds – and many of them promise not to collect any of your data. However, can you trust all those claims?
The best way to find a suitable VPN is by listening to experts. And most importantly, you need someone to guide you through complicated privacy policies to make sense of all that legal information. In other words, you’ve come to the right place.
Jurisdiction & applicable laws
First and foremost, IPVanish operates out of the United States. You have every right to be uneasy about this fact, as we all know that intelligence services and tech corporations in the USA collect plenty of personal information via numerous means.
Contrary to popular opinion, the United States doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws. However, the US government can force companies to collect data under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. This means that if there’s probable cause, companies dealing with data can be forced to store data up to 180 days.
For IPVanish this means having the possibility to not log any data (if there’s no probable cause, that is).
Information Collected When Signing-Up
To sign-up for IPVanish, you need to enter two types of information. You need to submit your active email address and other types of information related to your chosen payment method. The good news is that you don’t have to use your personal email.
When it comes to making payments, this is where you’ll need to supply your name, street address, city, country, and similar information. You can pay via credit cards or PayPal, so there’s no anonymous way to start using IPVanish.
It’s interesting to note that IPVanish doesn’t state for how long your payment information is kept. However, the good news is that once you create an account, you can modify (or delete) your payment info through your control panel (on the official website).
Information Collected During Use
As noted earlier, you need to have an active email address to use IPVanish. This means that you need an email address that you can access, and you’re free to create a completely anonymous address for this purpose. The only reason why IPVanish needs to know your email address is to verify you when you log into its application.
While using IPVanish, your personal information and Web traffic are never collected, under any circumstances. However, anonymous information can be obtained that’s related to software crashes. This helps IPVanish to troubleshoot their software and provide a solution in times when you’re having technical problems.
Information collected via the official website
To sign-up for the service or get support, you need to visit this VPN’s official website. And each time you do so, certain types of data will be logged. This includes data related to your operating system, web browser, and similar. In turn, this is used by IPVanish to gain insight into the website’s analytics.
In other words, all the information that IPVanish collects via its website is anonymized. Then, this information is used to improve the site by checking bounce rates, average time spent on the website, and more.
What needs to be highlighted is that IPVanish doesn’t track users outside of their official website. This means that you won’t be “infected” with IPVanish cookies and different types of trackers. It’s also important to note that you can set up your Web browser to refuse any cookies, so you can be on the safe side.
Previous privacy-related accusations
Not too long ago, it was discovered that IPVanish supplied US legal authorities with personal information about one of their users. More precisely, the US Department of Homeland Security asked IPVanish for records related to an individual from Indiana. IPVanish responded by providing the IP address of the suspect user, along with dates and times when the user connected to and disconnected from secure servers.
As you can see, IPVanish was logging personal information – while claiming to be a no-logs VPN. However, you also must know that all this happened in 2016 when IPVanish operated under Highwinds Network Group. In February 2017, IPVanish was acquired by Stackpath.
Despite Stackpath’s claims that they absolutely do not log, it seems reasonable to be concerned given the product’s history.
The bottom line
As you can see, it’s hard to tell whether IPVanish really stores logs of their users. This company is still suffering the consequences of what happened in 2016. However, it’s also important to note that nothing similar has happened since. It’s ultimately up to you whether you’ll trust Stackpath to care for user privacy.