Private Internet Access releases statement on PRISM

Pete Zaborszky

Pete Zaborszky

June 17, 2013

privateinternetaccessAs regular readers of our blog will know, we are big fans of Private Internet Access, who not only pack a lot of features into what is a very low cost service, but also have a very enviable reputation for maintaining users’ privacy. PIA has regularly topped our ‘Best VPN’ lists, particularly on issues relating to privacy.

Like many others therefore, we were alarmed at what the NSA PRISM spying revelations might mean in regards to Private Internet Access, as PIA is a US based company, and Edward Snowden’s revelations make any and all US companies suspect.

In response to this, Private Internet Access has released a statement on the matter. In it, they make clear that they are dedicated to protecting civil liberties, and that were they to be approached regarding a scheme such as PRISM, they would resist to the utmost, to the point that they would shut down before betraying the privacy of their customers.

Private Internet Access also points out that it is unaware of any attempts by the NSA to target companies and small as themselves, with it preferring to co-opt companies with much larger user bases than PIA. ,It also believes that the US government is unlikely to engage in the scandalous behavior of making a privacy company spy on its own users.

PIA is certainly willing to talk the talk, and everything we know about them leads us to believe that they mean what they say, and we would be very surprised indeed to discover they have betrayed their users’ trust. At the end of the day, all VPN services rest on your trust of the VPN provider, and PIA has become a byword for dedication to privacy in the VPN world and trustworthiness.

However, we are less optimistic about PIA’s (and other US internet companies) future ability to guarantee the privacy of their customers. Unless the public outcry over NSA practices causes a serious reversal of policy (unlikely), then we can only see them expanding their operations to include smaller and less mainstream services.

We also do not have much faith in idea that the government would not risk the scandal of forcing a privacy company to betray its own user’s privacy. Most US based VPN companies happily hand over user’s details to copyright enforcers when served a DMCA request, and many European governments require VPN companies to keep logs, which can be accessed by government agencies.

In our opinion, Private Internet Access remains a secure and safe means of maintaining your privacy, but we shall have to see what the future brings. We hope the situation will never descend to the point that PIA has to carry through its promise to shut themselves down, but the point they have made such a promise only endears them further to us.

Pete Zaborszky

Pete runs Best VPN and wants to get detailed information to the readers. He is dedicated to being the best and providing the highest quality at anything he does. You can also find him on Twitter

3 responses to “Private Internet Access releases statement on PRISM

  1. I believe that PIA does not have the option to reveal that they have been approached and have no option, but provide the press release they do. As we have learned, to reveal such would lead to criminal prosecution.

    Second, PIA has a small number of exit points and the NSA need only listen to traffic outside of those ‘known’ endpoints. So in my opinion, yes, the NSA can listen in on PIA traffic whenever they want to. PIA’s only option to truly secure their clients data would be to incorporate anonymous multi-layered routing.

    1. Hi Gary,

      I have to say that I agree now. In light of revelations about the scale of NSA operations since this article was written, that the NSA would have left such a high profile and popular US based privacy service untouched beggars disbelief, whatever PIA says.

  2. Reading PIA’s passionate statement leaves little comfort – i.e. they seem to be saying that they would protest but not disobey authorities’ demand for data. Therefore, the most likely scenario appears to be that if, no, let’s face it, when, the NSA come demanding data, PIA will provide it to them and then either, a) shutdown or, b) continue to provide their services. So in my opinion you can forget these US based companies (unless they can provide a service that records no data and therefore has non to give authorities). Look at all the main players with PRISM – some of them don’t appear happy about having to provide data, but the thought of loosing millions/billions in profit obviously outweighs the conscience of ‘doing the right thing’. Clearly the temptation is too strong to resist the – “just do it and shut up” strategy – who wants to loose their multimillion dollar yacht?

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