Privacy Researchers Warns FB Users against Using VPN Onavo Protect

Technology > Security

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That One Privacy Guy, a privacy researcher known for promoting privacy and security and has analyzed trustworthiness of VPN for years, claimed that Facebook’s Onavo policy is “obtuse.” This was after Facebook has pushed Onavo Protect, a Virtual Private Network that the company claims can make the web safer. It is a portal that links users to a larger internet, passing data via an encrypted path so that there is lesser risk of spying. The privacy reacher, however, claims that if users are not using the VPN product, their data becomes the product.

That One Privacy Guy that maintains a VPN comparison chart shares that he has read various VPN privacy policies from different companies, allowing him to detect “nonsense a mile away.”

In its App Store details, Facebook-owned app Onavo Protect is said to be capable of collecting the user’s mobile data traffic. The developers claim that it enables them to operate and further improve the Onavo services by analyzing how users use websites, data, and apps. “We also use this info to improve Facebook products and services,” the app description reads.

The Wall Street Journal also published in August last year that Facebook is using the data they collected from Onavo so they can track user preferences and popularity of various startups. 

Web-application framework Ruby on Rails’ creator David Heinemeier Hansson also commented that Facebook may try to spin their VPN spyware as a way to "protect" users.” He even posted an article link on his Twitter page, encouraging readers to not download the “Vampiric VPN Service” because it drains users of their privacy and it sucks every bit of information it can.

Security researcher Ankur Banerjee, whose focus is on digital infrastructure, also pointed out that although the Onavo Protect VPN is claimed to be keeping the customers protected, they may also ensure that the “user forgets Onavo even exists.” This also means that when the VPN is turned on, the more information it can gather and analyze.