This is an important moment for us and we would like to share it with our readers and users. Being one of the first anonymizing services comes with a responsibility, so we decided it’s time to publish a transparency report of state discovery operations, copyright issues and complaints from website operators and individuals.
Transparency reports of Internet companies are a common thing in many countries, as opposed to transparency reports of VPN providers, for which there are just a few reports available. The reason is simple: many countries have concerns that a disclosure of requests from police and other organizations might endanger ongoing investigations. The actual numbers of requests by authorities and others can be bad for business, especially if a provider logs their users’ online activity.
We are proud to say that we are among the world’s fastest growing anonymization services and one of the few with a no logging policy. Today, CyberGhost becomes one of the first VPN companies which provide a statistic insight to their customers about requests received from investigation authorities, economy enterprises and individuals. We plan to update the report at the end of each quarter.
The Transparency Report shows the our received requests from founding (2011) to present. Most requests and complaints are related to alleged infringements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) such as illegal downloads. But it also contains requests regarding copyright issues, police investigations and different malicious acts which were sent by authorities (investigations) and lawyers (copyright issues) as well as webpage providers, datacenters and individuals, where the latter are usually complaining about spam mails, automatic send mails, cyber-attacks (Botnets, DDoS) and hacking attempts.
This data is shown on our official website.
According to data from the company’s Transparency Report, the number of complaints and requests to disclose user data more than tripled year after year: there were 105 requests per 100,000 users in 2013, compared to just 30 requests per 100,000 users in 2012. The number of complaints and requests per 100,000 users received in the first quarter of 2014 is eight times higher compared with the first quarter of 2013, and 20 times higher than the corresponding period of 2012: CyberGhost registered 265 complaints per 100,000 users in the first three months of this year, against 33 complaints per 100,000 users in the first quarter of the previous year, and just 13 requests per 100,000 users in the similar period of 2012.
“When we receive requests to disclose user information, we reply every time that we are a VPN service operating in Romania, so according to the local law we are not obliged to maintain logs, so we do not keep any records, which means we can’t help identify any of our users,” said Ana Schiopu, CyberGhost VPN Product Manager.
Worldwide, the relation of numbers is similar: 2.157 requests about copyright issues, 96 requests concerning malicious acts and 18 requests from police investigations.
Comparing the number of CyberGhost’s total users (3.5 million) with the small number of police investigation requests received in 2013 (18), one could argue that VPNs don’t exist to protect crimes, but instead are here to protect citizens from crimes, such as hackers, data espionage and violence against their privacy. Today, this is truer than ever, especially after Edward Snowden enlightened the world about the NSA scandals.
Thank you for trusting CyberGhost VPN! We will continue our work for a free and private internet!