Many companies promote their products with the intention to sell privacy, and this practice is especially common for developers of VPN services. According to , of the 115 most popular services, 26 maintain a record of user data, although the ads claim the opposite. Moreover, many companies simply sell this information to outside parties.

Usually VPN-services are used to hide Internet traffic or access to the blocked content in the country. Others use VPN services to protect themselves from the thousands of trackers on the internet.  Many believe that their data will be safe with a free VPN. Unfortunately, this is a misconception. Your information is most often in the hands of a VPN provider. Your traffic is redirected through servers, and these servers need to be paid. Some VPN providers can spend tens of thousands of dollars on this, some even millions.  If you have a subscription to a service the odds that they actually preserve your privacy are much higher.

The privacy policy of most free services openly states that the developer can sell user data. Among such VPN-services: Hotspot Shield, Hola and Betternet.

Hotspot Shield

The service has more than 500 million downloads, most people use it for free. Selling user data and intercepting traffic for Hotspot Shield is common.

The US Center for Democracy and Technology in 2017 filed a petition with the US Federal Trade Commission, which says that the Android application Hotspot Shield sends to outside networks advertising information such as the names of wireless networks, MAC addresses and IMEI numbers. Also, the service is accused of stealing and redirecting user traffic to partners.


In 2015, the researchers found in the Hola security system a number of problems. Among them – a bug that allowed attackers to remotely run applications on users’ computers.

Worse yet, the service was caught selling free user traffic to those who pay for the platform. In short, in an attempt to remain anonymous, you can allow the perpetrator to visit forbidden sites from your IP address.

Some problems the company has eliminated, but not all.


One of the most popular free VPN-services for mobile devices, which has 38 million users. The State Association of Scientific and Applied Research of Australia has learned that the Android application Betternet uses as many as 14 libraries to track user actions, which is a record for free VPN-platforms.

In other words, when you try to hide the actions from your Internet provider with Betternet, but information about you falls into the hands of a huge number of third-party companies.

You truly do get what you pay for when it comes to a VPN.  If you pay for it and review the privacy policy, you should be in the clear with privacy concerns.  Also checking out is a solid way to do some background research before deciding on one.