A recent online survey has revealed that more than 70% of online users do not believe that zero-logging policies exist among VPN providers, a finding that many in the industry will be surprised to hear.
The study, which took place in August this year, was conducted by The Privacy Observer – a project orchestrated by a group called Direct Spark, which is an online marketing agency concerned primarily with promoting starter tech companies. The Privacy Observer project was established to research the issue of privacy in today’s virtual climate. The project is supported by ibVPN.
According to the organizers, the purpose of the research was to come to a clearer understanding of how and why virtual private networks operate. Essentially, the study sought to answer the question: Are users correctly informed about the level of privacy a VPN gives to them?
The study asked 1,000 people from 10 countries from around the world, including the UK, the US, South Korea, Romania, and Australia. 73% of those surveyed had used a VPN at least once.
When participants were asked why they used a VPN, more than 60% said that they used the service to protect their privacy, while just over a third were using VPNs to unblock restricted content such as video-on-demand (VOD) by the likes of Netflix and Hulu.
When asked about the obstacles they faced when choosing a VPN, more than 40% of participants said that speed and connection reliability were the most significant, with just under one fifth saying that privacy and security were crucial factors. 17% said that the general ease of use of a VPN was the main challenge; factors like logging in and configuration. A mere 8% said that they considered the cost of VPN to be the largest obstacle.
When quizzed on the level of privacy they believed VPNs offer, 49% of participants said that they felt the service protects them from third party surveillance, while 44% believe that a VPN prevents hackers from accessing their data, even when using a public Wi-Fi network.
Perhaps the most surprising results came in response to the researcher’s question about VPN logging policies. A staggering 71% believe that zero-logging policies do not exist among VPN providers.
An overwhelming 89% believe that using a VPN greatly increases user privacy while online. 11% believe that using a VPN ensures total anonymous while connected to the Internet.
The Privacy Observer
According to the press release from The Privacy Observer, “these results should be read by all VPN providers,” particularly those offering zero-logging.
They concluded by saying that “using a VPN greatly increases the online privacy but it does not make the user absolutely anonymous. And also, users have to understand that zero logging (in the absolute sense) does not exist.”
What’s clear from the results is that VPN users are well-informed about the practices of providers, at least when it comes to zero-logging, though perhaps not when it comes to online anonymity. Of course, different VPN providers offer different services with varying levels of protection. Be sure to check the finer details of the VPN service you’re interested in before signing up.