22 Apr Dutch Police Seize Two VPN Servers from Perfect Privacy
With France and Germany taking measures against encryption by requiring telecommunications companies to build encryption backdoors in their private messaging services, another country has taken a similar step. Netherlands authorities seized two VPN servers from a reputed VPN provider, Perfect Privacy during September last year.
The reason why the Dutch police seized the servers remains unclear, but it was said that the action was a part of an investigation that they are currently doing. According to the VPN provider, the authorities didn’t contact Perfect Privacy and went directly to I3D, the hosting company of the servers, with a subpoena requesting the hardware. A statement released by Perfect Privacy said that they have no information regarding the requisition of the hardware since the police skirted them and were merely informed by I3D.
Perfect Privacy has had two of its servers seized by Dutch police in Rotterdam, Netherlands as part of an active investigation. The police bypassed the VPN service and went directly to the company’s hosting provider, I3D, who complied with a subpoena requesting the hardware. Despite the situation, Perfect Privacy assured its customers not to worry since the seized hardware contains no personally identifiable data due to their strict, no-logging policy. They guaranteed that no user data will be compromised since they stick to their privacy policies.
I3D stated in an interview with TorrentFreak that, while they are working with the Dutch authorities to help with the current investigation, they are also considering their customers’ best interests.
“When the Dutch police contact us with a subpoena, we work with them in a professional manner and ensure their request and our responses are in compliance with the Dutch law. We think with the affected customer as well, for example by making temporary capacity available so the customer does not suffer extended downtime during the investigation.”
The two seized servers were immediately replaced with new ones, so the situation did not result to Perfect Privacy’s downtime. Its customers can still enjoy its services despite the temporary loss of servers.
Perfect Privacy has been in the industry since 2008, and this is one of the risks in the company’s quest to provide anonymity, along with other VPN providers. Criminals will take advantage of a VPN’s ability to hide their IP addresses and cover their tracks.
This event leaves a worrying question in the minds of people who wish to keep their privacy tight: if the authorities can just seize any server without due explanation, how safe are the user’s data even through a VPN? The constant battle between privacy rights and mass surveillance is still intense, and will continue for a very long time.