OVPN, our once-beloved VPN service, has decided to shack up with Pango, the corporate puppet master pulling the strings behind Hotspot Shield. This acquisition is supposedly going to bless OVPN users with wondrous gifts like access to Pango’s extensive network and resources. Translation: a faster and more reliable service – if you’re willing to turn a blind eye to privacy concerns, that is.
OVPN assures us that there will be no changes to our accounts and subscriptions. They claim the service will continue to operate with its unique features and benefits. How thoughtful of them! However, the ever-skeptical Reddit hivemind and privacy forums are already questioning the real implications of this unholy union.
Why the uproar, you ask? Well, Pango has a rather stellar reputation for running free VPN apps that double as tracking libraries and ad networks’ paradise. Their portfolio consists of some truly “impressive” names like Hotspot Shield, Betternet, VPN 360, and UltraVPN.com.
Let’s talk about Hotspot Shield for a moment. Pango’s pride and joy was reported by the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) to the FTC for allegedly deceptive trade practices. Apparently, they thought they could get away with unethical logging and data sharing while still promising “anonymous browsing.” Cute, right? Oh, and they also used to bundle adware with their Windows installer. How generous!
And then we have Betternet – the fourth most flagged VPN app on Google Play, according to VirusTotal. This little gem was founded by the son of Iran’s Vice President and later adopted by Pango. Talk about keeping it in the family.
All these alarming facts have me wondering how OVPN plans to maintain its privacy-focused image under Pango’s loving embrace.
Here’s my humble advice: If you cherish your data privacy as much as I do, it’s high time to find a new VPN provider. Preferably one owned by an independent company, because, you know, that’s kind of important for the whole security and privacy thing.
My top picks are Mullvad, IVPN, and AirVPN. Feel free to peruse our list of other VPNs to find the perfect match for your privacy demands.