What is the VPN Trust Initiative?

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The VPN Trust Initiative, or VTI as it’s more commonly known, has been making the rounds a bit lately.

But what is the VTI? And should you choose a VPN that is VTI-approved? Let’s find out a bit more.

What is the VTI and why is it needed?

To explain this better, I need to first talk about shady VPN providers.

You know, the ones that promise you online privacy and security but end up doing the exact opposite. The words “shady” and “VPN” have sadly been conflated quite a lot in the past, mainly due too many bad operators in the VPN market.

Many of those types of VPN are “free”, which is why so many people are drawn to them.

Who doesn’t like free stuff, right? But as the saying goes: “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” and that’s especially true when it comes to VPNs.

Why are some free VPNs so shady? Because they often lack the resources and expertise to implement robust security measures and protect user privacy.

Some of them may even sell your data to third parties, which defeats the whole purpose of using a VPN in the first place…! And let’s not forget about the malware and other malicious software that some free VPNs bundle with their apps. Not all, but certainly more than you may realize.

But it’s not just free VPNs that are shady. Actually, some paid VPNs also engage in questionable practices, such as logging user activity and sharing data with third parties. These VPNs may have slick marketing campaigns that make them seem trustworthy, but don’t be fooled. 🙁

That’s why the VPN Trust Initiative is so important. It’s a colaboration created by the VPN industry – by competitors in fact. The major players in the VPN industry are starting to come together and establish industry standards and best practices for VPN providers. By setting clear guidelines for security and privacy, the VTI aim sto improve consumer confidence in the VPN industry and make it easier for people to choose a VPN that they can trust.

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What else does the VTI do?

But the VTI doesn’t just focus on setting standards. It also aims to educate the public about VPNs and their benefits, as well as provide resources and support for VPN providers to implement best practices in security and privacy. By working together, the VTI hopes to make the internet a safer and more secure place for everyone.

One of the key goals of the initiative is to lobby for privacy and encryption, working with policymakers and regulators to ensure that VPN providers are  held to high standards of transparency and accountability. The initiative also aims to provide resources and support for VPN providers to implement best practices in security and privacy.

Another important aspect of teh initiative is education and awareness. By providing information and resources to people like you i.e. their customers, the VTI hopes to help consumers make informed decisions about which VPN providers to trust, plus also how to use VPNs safely and effectively.

The VPN Trust Initiative is an exciting development for the VPN industry in my opinion, as it represents a concerted effort by major players in the field to work together to improve the security and privacy of VPN users.

By setting industry standards and advocating for privacy and encryption, the initiative has the potential to change the way VPNs are viewed and used by consumers. No more shady VPNs!? Well, let’s hope so…

Which VPNs are part of the VTI?

So far, the VPN Trust Initiative has got off to a great start with five major players in the VPN industry already signed on. These are (in no particular order):

  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN,
  • Golden Frog / VyprVPN
  • Surfshark, and
  • NetProtect (which encompasses several VPN services like encrypt.me, WLVPN, IPVanish, StrongVPN, OverPlay, and SaferVPN)

These five “holding” companies (as they own lots of other VPNs) have all committed to the initiative’s mission of establishing industry standards and best practices for VPN providers.

Although no official, public requirements have been set yet, according to some people I’ve spoken to within the industry, the initiative will focus on important issues like logging policies and encryption – and these will need to abide by the i2Coalition’s policies and guidelines.

For those who don’t know, the i2Coalition has a strong track record of bringing together a wide range of players to advocate for the internet infrastructure industry as a whole.

Are there any other industry groups in the VPN space?

No. Currently, this it the only one. And there are precisely zero official regulators or watchdogs.

This lack of regulation is why the VPN Trust Initiative is so important, in my opinon. By setting clear standards and best practices, the initiative has the potential to bring more VPN providers “up to standard” with what end users expect in terms of privacy and security.

Isn’t this just a lobbying group?

Yes and no.

The VPN Trust Initiative does undertake some industry lobbying: this will give members, it is hoped, a collective voice to approach lawmakers. You might disagree with that, but the industry argues this is important, as authorities increase pressure on VPNs to give law enforcement back doors, hand over user records, and weaken encryption.

Sounds fair to me.

Plus, by working with the i2Coalition, the VPN Trust Initiative hopes to influence legislation that affects the entire VPN industry, not just the VTI founders. Interestingly, the i2Coalition has been a strong advocate for the importance of encryption and has even pushed for a U.S. Congressional commission on the matter…

We all know that the VPN industry is evolving at a fast pace, and it’s important to take a proactive approach with standards and legislation. By doing so, the VPN Trust Initiative hopes to shape and influence the future of the industry rather than simply react to changes that are forced upon it.


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