AnchorFree, a significant VPN supplier, simply launched its 2017 transparency report. This lists authorities calls for for consumer knowledge by nation, and the authorized mechanism used. Maybe probably the most eye-catching determine is that of the 81 formal authorized requests acquired by the corporate, an astonishing 63 got here from the US
For context, the nation that despatched the second-most authorized requests was France, which despatched seven. Though AnchorFree — which owns Hotspot Defend — is a US-based firm, the overwhelming majority of its 600 million customers are based mostly elsewhere.
The most typical kind of authorized request the corporate acquired is a subpoena. 38 requests match into this class. In response to AnchorFree:
“A subpoena is a type of authorized course of that a authorities company, which has been granted authority to difficulty subpoenas, can use to request restricted sorts of details about AnchorFree’s clients.”
Utilizing this mechanism, a authorities company may ask AnchorFree for buyer particulars. This might embody issues like biographical particulars (names, cellphone numbers, and e-mail addresses), how lengthy they’ve used the service, and so forth.
Over the course of 2017, AnchorFree additionally acquired 4 search warrants, the place a choose or Justice of the Peace supplies authorized authorization for regulation enforcement to entry (usually) the corporate’s servers, plus one courtroom order.
Curiously, the corporate acquired 38 authorized requests which AnchorFree has categorized as “different.” This is the same as the variety of the extra formal subpoenas acquired by the corporate, and usually contains issues like letters from overseas governments, calls for, and requests types. The vast majority of these should not acknowledged underneath US regulation.
In all circumstances, as Anchor Free doesn’t affiliate IP addresses with consumer info, it’s not truly able to disclose any consumer info. However this report paints a troubling image of the scrutiny VPN suppliers discover themselves in. It additionally intently mirrors the experiences of different corporations which have issued transparency experiences, like CyberGhost .