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File in "bad ideas" - ad-supported "free" VPN services

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Pattern_Juggled
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File in "bad ideas" - ad-supported "free" VPN services

Postby Pattern_Juggled » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:15 pm

Thanks in part to what is without doubt some excellent public relations maneuvering, several advertising-supported "free" VPN services have received quite a bit of attention in the media in recent years. I've watched as this business model went from one that seemed doomed to failure at a structural level back in 2008 (when Hotspot Shield was floundering after burning quite a bit of venture money), to the most visible part of the "VPN industry" when it comes to mainstream media mentions.

And free is a great price, right? Google does free search, and they own a big chunk of the revenue and market value on the interwebs as a result of the success of their ad-supported model: free to use, ad supported. There's countless other examples, obviously - and I won't bog this down with academic discussions of the flavours of "free" and the structural dynamics of each. Advert-supported services are all over the place, particularly online. Nothing odd there.

However, when you stop and think about it there's something seriously strange about a privacy service - which is what a VPN service is, after all - choosing the path of advertiser supported revenue. It's like... I'm searching for a good metaphor here... it's like fucking for chastity, or waging war in the name of peace. Oxymoronic, one might be tempted to call it. Self-contradicting.

The idea of a privacy service is to maintain the privacy of one's online activities: from government snoops, from malicious third parties, and from advertisers seeking to profile you by poking their gluttonous noses into every packet you pass back and forth online. As advertising models get more and more intrusive online - yes, Facebook - the third of these items becomes a bigger and bigger part of what motivates folks to step up and add privacy protection to their personal toolkit for online life. This is a pretty well-established trend, at this point in time.

So how the hell does one map ad-supported VPN service into existing reality, then? By definition, the companies offering these services are mining the online activities of their "users" (they aren't customers, as they aren't paying - the actual customers are the advertisers) to help their advertisers better target and monitor the advertising/selling process. How intrusive they are about this - a little more, a little less - sort of isn't the point. The point is that the service is spoon-feeding private online activities directly into the hungry maws of the advertisers, as a core element of the service itself.

At least they're being honest about it, but even so. What are people thinking when they use these services? Is it a lesser of evils thing: "I guess I'll trust this random 'free' VPN service and have them intrusively monitor me so they can batter me with targeted adverts, rather than having Google and Facebook do it if I use my residential IP address and don't bother encrypting my traffic"... is that it? Or is it just a misunderstanding of what's actually going on, brought about by some clever hand-waving by these creepy companies: "we'll protect you from surveillance as you do your thing online... except we'll do surveillance on you ourselves as the price of 'protecting' you from surveillance from others."... is that it? Sort of like: "I'd rather be robbed by this bully than that bully, because this bully seems a little less mean than the other - except isn't the goal not to get robbed?

Anyhow, we're going to collect some examples of ad-supported "privacy" services - with a focus on VPN companies - here in this thread. Perhaps other folks will contribute, and explain why it is that a fairly high number of people are actually using these things - because, honestly, I'm baffled.
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Malware: Privitize VPN & Searchou.com Redirect

Postby Pattern_Juggled » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:18 pm

{here's a rather extreme example to get things going: VPN service, "free" of course so as to better attract victims, that's actually a form of browser-hijack malware... -Pt_jD}

Screenshot:


What is Privitize VPN and Searchou.com Redirect?

Privitize VPN is a virtual private network which claims to offer you free VPN to makes sure that all your internet connections go through our super fast servers located world wide and your privacy is protected all the time while browsing the internet, accessing Facebook, sending emails or chatting with friends.

But as a matter as fact, Privitize VPN is not good as advertised, it is categorized as an adware which will change your browser settings, such as homepage and search engine when you install it. When you follow the recommended typical installation, you will also have unexpected MiaigNiPic and Privitize toolbar installed on your web browser, and the homepage also changed to Searchou.com/google.com/webph with the installation of Privitize VPN.

It is not safe to have Privitize VPN on your computer because it takes dishonest tactic to spread browser extension. Privitize VPN is suspected of collecting users’ personal information to distribute advertisement or for commercial use.


You may experience some of the following symptoms on your computer once you have Privitize VPN installed.

    Lots of pop-up advertisements appear on your computer unexpectedly.
    Programs on your computer may crash unexpectedly.
    Your PC’S operating system may respond slowly when you use it.
    Your homepage is changed to Searchou.com (google.com/webph).
    The default search engine is changed to Search The Web (privitize)
    Unwanted browser add-on, such as MiaigNiPic and Privitize toolbar installed on your web browser.


- - -

They even have "Terms of Service" for their malware... which are, ironically, really similar to the Terms of Service of self-styled "legitimate" VPN companies like Torguard - a telling comparison, perhaps:

Terms of Service

These are the terms of service you are agreeing to when you enroll in and/or when you are using the services of PrivitizeVPN.com

Please Note In this agreement, the term "You" means you the "User", and the term "We" or "Our" means PrivitizeVPN.com, its owners, employees, agents, and any others involved with PrivitizeVPN.com.

1. You must be 18 years old or older to use PrivitizeVPN.com services.

2. We are obliged to take all measures to provide services to you with minimum downtime.

3. The information you provide when you connect and use the service, have access only to employees of PrivitizeVPN.com. Your information may be used only by us to provide our services to you. We respect your privacy and will not share its third person, except in the following situations:

    a) At the request of law enforcement agencies in compliance with all procedures established by law.

    b) The user has violated the rules for the use of the service.

4. You agree to receive newsletters and other commercials from PrivitizeVPN.com by e-mail.

5. You will be responsible for all the activities involving your account. You must respect the laws of your country. You agree not to share your account with others. You can use your account on as many devices as you like, but you can have only one connection at a time for your account. Simultaneous connections for the same account from different devices are not allowed.

6. You agree that you will not run any resource intensive programs that will interfere in the usage of our services by our users. You agree that you will not hog the bandwidth of our servers. We reserve the right limit bandwidth of your account if you transfer more than 2GB in one day.

7. You agree that our services offered to you are provided as a "as is" basis, with no warranties whatsoever. We are not liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, inconveniences, or whatsoever damages, or loss of profit, which may arise from the use of our services.

8. We cannot and do not guarantee the speed of our services. We also cannot and do not guarantee that you will have uninterrupted services. We have no control and cannot guarantee on how the internet will perform in your area. We are not liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, inconveniences, or whatsoever damages, or loss of profit, which may arise from the use of our services. If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, on your request within 3 days from the purchase date, we will fully refund the cost of your order. Otherwise no refunds will be given.

9. We are not in any shape or form liable for damages of any sort (realized or unrealized) resulting from the use of, or through the use of, or arising from the use of, or the inability to use the PrivitizeVPN.com services pertaining to any registered user. In any event, PrivitizeVPN.com shall never be liable for any monetary damages beyond what the user paid to PrivitizeVPN.com.

10. You agree:

    a) You will not use our services to hack or attack other computers, servers, or networks on the internet. You will not attempt to hack our servers and resources.

    b) You will not use our services to scan (e.g. port scanning, running proxy hunters) or break into other computers, servers, or networks on the internet.

    c) You will not use our services to transmit viruses/trojans/worms, etc. to other computers on the internet.

    d) You will not to use our services for receiving and distribution of pirated copyright materials, such as, but not limited to Pirated DVDs, Pirated CDs, Pirated Software. This includes, but not limited to the following: The trading, selling, bartering, sharing, transmitting or receiving, of such materials.

    e) You will not use our services to send out unsolicited or fraudulent materials. This includes, but not limited to the following: Sending unsolicited emails (i.e. SPAM mail), mass-marketing mails (even they are in a opt-in list), hate mail, unsolicited instant messages, unsolicited SMS, or identity theft or scam related materials, etc.

    f) You will not use our services to engage in child pornography activities of any sort. This includes, but not limited to trading, bartering, selling, transmitting child pornography to others, or receiving the materials from others, etc.

    g) You will not promote or encourage criminal or terrorist activities of any sort.

    h) You will not use our services to threaten or harass others.

    i) You will not use our services for any type of criminal activities.

11. We reserve the right to terminate your account without notice if we receive any complaints about your activities from other users, servers, companies or internet service providers.

12. If you violate any of our terms, we reserve the right to terminate your service without any advance warning or notification.

13. If you violate any of our terms that involve criminal activities, you will forfeit all the privacy and confidentiality privileges that our service provides.

14. We reserve the right to make amendments or modifications to our Terms Of Use Agreement. This will become binding and it will be your responsibility to periodically check for updates and abide by the terms.

15. You can contact PrivitizeVPN.com via contact form on PrivitizeVPN.com webpage or by support case system in member’s area on PrivitizeVPN.com webpage.


October 31, 2012
PrivitizeVPN.com is a service developed and provided by an Industriya Limited Liability Company
...just a scatterbrained network topologist & crypto systems architect……… ҉҉҉

    ✨ ✨ ✨
[email protected]ðëëþ.bekeybase pgpmit pgpðørkßöt-on-consolegit 'er github
bitmessage:
BM-NBBqTcefbdgjCyQpAKFGKw9udBZzDr7f


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