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VPN is No More Dangerous Than Other Applications

Dina Faisal Dina Faisal
5th May 2021
VPN is No More Dangerous Than Other Applications
Most websites and applications have some data collection (Getty Images).

The Claim

VPN, or “Virtual Private Technology” is a dangerous technology that tracks a user's activities online and sells personal data.

Emerging story

Social media posts are circulating particularly from Saudi Arabia that claim VPN is a "dangerous technology" disguised as a privacy tool. The images accompanying the claim share six points on how VPN applications breach privacy. The complaint adds that it is illogical for VPN to be free; therefore, it tracks and sells users' data. Moreover, 80% of VPNs access sensitive information such as user accounts and text messages. It also mentions legal prosecutions and how many countries are aware of the dangers of using these programs and are not lenient with those who misuse them.

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar's investigation found that the claim exaggerates the "dangers" of VPNs. It is not more or less dangerous than other websites or applications because most have some level of data collection. Most websites use cookies to track online activities, such as Google. 

VPN  works by creating a safe tunnel between the device and the internet and changing the device's IP address, thereby changing the location. VPNs allow users access to blocked applications such as Clubhouse and an added layer of protection. 

However, not all VPNs are equal. Free VPNs are likely to use outdated technology, making them sometimes more vulnerable. They also carry some risk of retaining unencrypted data, which can lead to selling it. However, most paid, trustworthy VPNs use the latest cybersecurity technology to offer a more substantial protection barrier against all data theft. They avoid logging activity and allow access to censored sites. 

VPNs are allowed in most of the world. Only a few countries ban or restrict VPN use, such as China, North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, Russia, UAE, Egypt, and Turkey. Governments can order internet service providers to block customers who use VPNs. In government surveillance, a VPN makes it more difficult as the VPN provider would receive the data, and the government would need to contact them to receive it, usually requiring a court order. Therefore, while claims that VPNs have certain risks are accurate, it is misleading to call them dangerous. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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