iVPN Names Snooping as Catalyst for VPN Signups

It may seem that the hype over government snooping and online piracy has died down in the last month. But iVPN reports that these are the biggest reasons for the continuing surge in iVPN signups. Most users indicated privacy as their concern, while others wanted protection from anti-piracy crackdowns.

PRISM is the Biggest Promoter of iVPN Services

When looking over data on a recent survey of VPN signups, iVPN noted that the majority of users who recently subscribed to their services listed NSA and Snowden as their reasons for wanting an iVPN account. The discoveries of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden are still fresh in their minds, iVPN reported, pushing them to seek privacy protection from iVPN services.

The surge in VPN signups began with the PRISM scandal. A marked increase in iVPN subscriptions began less than two weeks after Snowden leaked information regarding the massive NSA online spying program. During the survey, iVPN was able to link daily signups to succeeding reports on the PRISM scandal from the online newspaper The Guardian. For two months after the first news report on PRISM, iVPN saw a 56% increase in subscriptions. There was also an increase of interest in information relating to online privacy as revealed by new iVPN website visits and page views.

Internet Censorship

References to Internet censorship were also found in the reasons given for using iVPN. Upon probing, user responses revealed that people were not so much afraid that their governments would erect versions of the Great Firewall, but that laws like SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA and the Charter of Snooper would again surface. The censorship issue was important to users as it related to online activity monitoring and privacy rights. Antipiracy itself was not referred to directly, and these laws were mentioned in relation to the privacy infringements they would cause. People are no longer taking online privacy for granted now that they have realized that company privacy policies, passwords and privacy laws are no barriers to snooping.

Online freedom and the Internet imperative were also mentioned in the same context. Some users interested in iVPN services are then also advocating the idea that Internet and censorship do not belong together, and that because of the free nature of the Internet, any type of block is an error that must be overcome.

iVPN

Coincidental Increases in Other Online Privacy Services

iVPN compared results with other online privacy services and found that they also experienced increased use closely correlated with user privacy concerns. The popular anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo and the private email service Hushmail in particular observed a spike in new user activity and signups in the two months following the release of information from Snowden. Other popular VPN providers also reported increased signups during the same period although details on the reasons why users chose to sign up at the time they did were not given.

Various websites that advocate online privacy and Internet freedom have shared that they have been receiving more inquiries regarding these topics since the first Guardian report on PRISM was published. The NSA is referenced very often, and VPN providers have reported the same.

iVPN concluded from the survey data that privacy concerns spawned by the revelation of government snooping activities is by far the biggest reason why people are using VPN services. This was closely connected to negative feelings about Internet monitoring and censorship. Concerns over anti-piracy laws followed, indicating again that online privacy is the real reason behind VPN use. iVPN closed the report by saying that they want to make sure users know that a VPN service will not prevent data loss through third-party sharing and service provider leaks. A VPN can protect user data from its source, but that users need to be careful what online services they trust with this information, because a VPN cannot stop them from giving this data to other parties. To learn more about VPN service features, details from the leading VPN providers are available here.

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