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I was reading about whether you should trust a VPN any more than your ISP, and I see that some VPN providers claim they do not log users, when they do indeed log users: UFO VPN claims zero-logs policy, leaks 20M user logs.

I see concerns about the possibility of being logged, particularly from people in parts of the world where governments are more oppressive (examples: top comment here, also here).

From my basic understanding of how VPNs work, wouldn't it be trivial for any major state (e.g. US, Russia, China, but not limited to those) to set up a VPN service, and secretly collect the logs?

i.e. if a random VPN provider like UFO VPN can collect user logs for a long time without being discovered, despite having a strict no-logs policy, is that safe to assume that states with strong IT capabilities could easily do the same (i.e. set up a VPN provider and start logging every single user)?

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    What makes you think there is not already stats backed VPNs ?
    – elsadek
    Mar 28, 2021 at 6:08
  • @elsadek Agree. I see my question as approximately the same question as yours, just couched in euphemism.
    – stevec
    Mar 28, 2021 at 6:32
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    I'm confused about the basis for your question, so I'm wondering what you are really asking. If a small company can launch a commercial VPN service, then of course a nation-state could start one too. Or get themselves on the Board of an existing one. But you alreay knew this. So, what are you asking? "What stops?" -- nothing.
    – schroeder
    Mar 28, 2021 at 7:19
  • What I posted was a comment, not an answer. I'm trying to understand your question. Any experienced security professional knows how to formulate a logical premise. I'm asking what your underlying premise is. Governments are just people. Whatever people can do a government can do. Are you drumming up discussion for the fact that this could be a reality and "we should all look out?" Are you asking if there are known government-run VPN services? What is your real question?
    – schroeder
    Mar 28, 2021 at 7:53
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is not a security question but purely a political one.
    – schroeder
    Mar 28, 2021 at 8:00

1 Answer 1

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What stops a nation state starting a “VPN service” to view its customers' logs?

No technical hurdles stop anybody from starting such a VPN service, no matter if a government or private company. It is clearly technical possible to create a VPN service which logs data. The main point is to convince users to use the service, i.e. to convince them initially to start using the service and to continuously keep the service attractive and hide its real purpose so that users continue using it. Thus the main problem will be to hide its real purpose from the public, even though the service will be run be created and run by humans who might get moral problems for lying to the public.

But with the right touch in marketing (free government service to protect citizens from malicious ISP - and logged data will only be used to protect against child pornography, human trafficking and terrorism) many citizens might even use it even though they know that the data get logged.

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