Security

Hotspot Shield Is Alleged To Leak User Data

VPN services always claimed to protect the user privacy; however, oddly it often finds itself in a controversy. This time around, it is one of the oldest and biggest services, Hotspot Shield, is accused of leaking private data of the users.

Digital rights group, Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) has alleged Hotspot Shield of violating the privacy of the users. As a result, it has asked the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to scrutinize the parent company of Hotspot Shield i.e. Anchorfree. The request is made particularly for investigating ‘unfair and deceptive trade practices’.

Also Read: How private are your private messages?

How did Hotspot Shield tamper the user data?

The tampering was first found out by ZDNet. According to them, the service adds JavaScript codes in the devices of its users. Subsequently, the code redirects the devices of the users to those websites which are advertised by Hotspot Shield’s partners.

As per the advocacy group:

“Hotspot Shield’s description for its iOS and Android mobile applications declares a “no logs” policy; however, its Privacy Policy, which covers and includes its Hotspot Shield services, describes more elaborate logging practices. Hotspot Shield also monitors information about users’ browsing habits while the VPN is in use. The VPN has been found to be actively injecting JavaScript codes using iframes for advertising and tracking purposes”

Quick Read: 10 free VPN tools to surf anonymously on Android

Anchorfree rubbishes the allegations

Amid all these accusations, the parent company of Hotspot Shield, Anchorfree has denied all the claims. It stated that it has ‘zero knowledge’ policy, which implies it doesn’t take any recognizable information from its clients dreading government request.

However, contrary to the claim of CDT, the group does log data which is secured from its users. It is relevant to mention that 97% of the whopping 500 million users utilize the free version of Hotspot Shield.

Essentially, VPN services are advertised as the first step towards having private connections. It has the ability to protect the users from their ISPs and from those websites which tracks user’s information.

It remains to be seen whether VPN services are transparent enough as they claim to be. Only further investigations and time will tell about it.

Source: ZDNet

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