Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Facebook’s VPN App Which Collects User Data

Facebook is now officially promoting its own VPN (Virtual Private Network), called Onavo.

Users of the Facebook’s iOS app have recently been shown a new option called Protect (found within the app’s navigation menu), which prompts users to download  the Onavo VPN app. However, this app comes with serious privacy issues.

“The purpose of a VPN is to provide its users with online privacy and security by encrypting all data exchanged between a user’s device and a VPN server. Reputable VPNs do not keep any user logs. Unfortunately, Facebook’s VPN seems to do the opposite – its goal is data collection, while it’s disguised as a privacy tool,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.  “This discredits VPNs and deprives people of online protection that they need – especially if they are using a VPN in countries where the freedom of speech is restricted.”

The Onavo app has already got 33 million installs by claiming it provides online protection. When a user downloads Onavo, the app establishes a tunnel – the usual VPN practice – to reroute all traffic from the user’s device to one of Onavo’s servers. This tunnel is encrypted, and a privacy-focused VPN will never monitor the online habits of its users by keeping logs of their activity. However, Onavo does collect mobile data traffic, claiming the collection helps improve its service.

“The problem is that when the data is collected, we cannot know how and where it will be used. It becomes the property of Facebook, and Facebook is not in the business of data privacy,” said Marty P. Kamden. “The data can be easily mishandled, sold to third parties or used for any other purpose. Facebook users should avoid downloading this app, and if they did – they should uninstall it, and use a trusted paid VPN instead. Unfortunately, a VPN provider that is offering a free service will be using other ways to earn money – and it’s usually through selling user data.”

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One Response to “Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Facebook’s VPN App Which Collects User Data”

  1. […] traction and which are fizzling out. Because of how invasive Onavo is, actual VPN companies like NordVPN called them out on this and so has VPNSpecial. Thus it is kind of surprising that it took this […]

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