Imagine a user from Russia uses a VPN-service which obeys US jurisdiction. This user did violate Russian legislation and the violation is being investigated by Russian law enforcement. Let's assume that this is not a serious offence (e.g. the user has shared private pictures in violation of a local law).

Everything the police have have is an IP address that is used by the VPN-service. Will the US-based VPN-provider (PrivateInternetAccess for example) share logs with the Russian police if they ask for it? Or are they able to refuse to share logs with non-US police?

closed as off-topic by Neil Smithline, Steve Dodier-Lazaro, Deer Hunter, ThoriumBR, schroeder Jan 14 '16 at 18:50

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about Information security within the scope defined in the help center." – Neil Smithline, Steve Dodier-Lazaro, Deer Hunter, ThoriumBR, schroeder
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • PIA claims not to keep any logs so they can't share them with anyone. – Neil Smithline Jan 14 '16 at 15:33
  • But nobody can be sure that they REALLY don't keep logs :) – Guest Jan 14 '16 at 15:35
  • Right, but we can't answer better than what they claim. – Neil Smithline Jan 14 '16 at 15:41
  • To those who don't know, "PIA" stands for "Private Internet Access." – Mark Buffalo Jan 14 '16 at 15:41
  • I used to work for an ISP in Abuse dept. and unless we get a police report and of course, a request to extract logs, we can't. I also ask my father that is a police officer about this question and still, unless a criminal action, there is no official request sent. So if it's only photos, nothing criminal, they can refuse to share logs. – r0ca Jan 14 '16 at 15:47

Assuming that the VPN service provides logs to law enforcement, then yes. Internet companies in the United States are required to adhere to U.S. data laws. That includes VPN services. That includes the providers used by private internet access.

"Wait, what? But Mark Buffalo, Private Internet Access claims to not keep logs!" Yeah, that doesn't matter. PIA doesn't own the servers you connect to. These servers are leased by hosting providers all around the world. They are the ones who have lots of logs, even if PIA doesn't. Suddenly, hiding behind a VPN seems a lot less secure, huh?

If you're from Russia, and you use a VPN service which obeys U.S. jurisdiction, and you use it to commit fraud (shame on you!) on Russian Territory, then the FBI will likely help the Russian police bust you, and anyone else involved.

Why? There is already precedent for this:

  1. Nine People Charged in Largest Known Computer Hacking and Securities Fraud Scheme
  2. After a dozen raids around the world, police are detaining the hackers behind 'RAT' software, which lets attackers take over Facebook accounts and infect computers
  3. International Cooperation Disrupts Multi-Country Cyber Theft Ring

Search the internet. You'll find lots of evidence of the FBI helping foreign governments bust criminals.

Additionally, you may want to read the Stored Communications Act. If any data is logged, companies are required to hand that over to authorities. Most companies would be more than willing to help law enforcement, as they can charge them access fees.

Now what's the best way to avoid the authorities? It's easy, really.

  • 1
    If only that last line would actually convince anyone to change. How much better a world we'd live in. – sethmlarson Jan 14 '16 at 17:01
  • It should be remembered that Russia is a kleptocracy; and that Putin is a murderer and thief. Honest people (as well as criminals) have use of a VPN. What's the best way to avoid the Kremlin gangsters? emigrate (emigration is not available to most people). – emory Jan 15 '16 at 2:13
  • @emory I have no doubt that honest people use VPN. However, the OP specifically stated in the original post, before it was heavily edited by Steve DL, that someone used the VPN to commit fraud. There's a whole lot of difference there between an honest person circumventing censorship, and someone who wants to use a VPN to commit crimes. – Mark Buffalo Jan 15 '16 at 2:19

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