Verizon VPN is now a service. On Friday the carrier launched a mobile VPN service called Safe Wi-Fi. It costs US$3.99/month and blocks advertising. But is it safe to use?
This is a hilariously awful choice that you should probably never use. For one, Verizon itself is in the advertising business, so it would be shooting itself in the foot. If you don’t remember, the FTC made Verizon let customers opt-out of its invasive “supercookie” technology.
Second, the whole point of a VPN is to circumvent your ISP. The VPN provider you use basically becomes your ISP whenever you use the service. This means that you have to be able to trust your VPN provider more than your regular ISP.
And we’ve seen plenty of examples of why you shouldn’t trust your ISP to protect your privacy. Example: The FCC killed net neutrality and Congress passed a bill that lets ISPs sell your data without your consent. And an ISP VPN would make data collection even easier.
Do we really believe that Verizon will protect us against itself? Even if it did, it still has limitations. It only works on devices connected to your Verizon account. This means you can’t use it on your Wi-Fi-only iPad or Mac.
I frequently use a website called Privacytools.io. It’s a giant list of software and services and respect the privacy of users. It has a big list of VPNs that “are outside the US, use encryption, accept Bitcoin, support OpenVPN and have a no logging policy.”
I personally use Private Internet Access, and it seems to have a good track record when it comes to privacy. It’s not listed on Privacy Tools because it has U.S.-based servers.