I have received several emails asking me to weigh in on the Private Internet Access acquisition by Kape Technologies. Generally speaking is nearly always viewed with suspicion. Change in security tools or products is usually regarded with extreme suspicion.
Change by itself is not a bad thing. It’s also not a good thing. Change is just change, and is neither positive or negative. When I first heard the news last month, that Private Internet Access had been acquired by Kape Technologies (Kape already owned CyberGhost and ZenMate VPNs), I wasn’t immediately alarmed. I have reserved judgement until now. In the intervening weeks I’ve read some things that give me pause about continuing to use Private Internet Access.
Admittedly, most of my concerns stem from a single source: this article. This article does do a decent job of tying disparate threads together, but it’s far from comprehensive; I would like to see this information come from multiple sources, not citing the same works. I would also like to see this information from a more recognized source. Again though, it gives me some questions to which there are no ready answers. For the time being, I am not using PIA, will not be providing it to my students, and won’t be recommending it here.
This is really a shame. Private Internet Access is truly one of the best VPNs we had. It works on every platform. It was massively user-friendly and easy to teach. Private Internet Access was huge and provided plenty of IP space, a massive, manipulable feature set, and plenty of Points of Presence. But brand loyalty is for suckers. As things change, which they inevitably do, we have to adapt.
I fully admit and be totally unambiguous: there is no clear “smoking gun” so far. There is no direct evidence that Private Internet Access’s security will be weakened, or its traffic monitored. Enough is left to speculation though, that I have concerns using PIA. If I have concerns using a product, I’m not going to recommend it to you, or provide it to my students. I will also be closing down my affiliate account with Private Internet Access, effective immediately.
My Replacement: ProtonVPN
Fortunately for me, I has subscribed to ProtonVPN just prior to the announcement of the acquisition. I had planned to write a how-to/review of Proton. When I learned of the merger, I decided to stick with ProtonVPN until an answer emerged. ProtonVPN is a bit pricey and it isn’t as polished as PIA, but I believe it’s an improvement. Stand by for a review of ProtonVPN, coming soon.