Germany Private Internet Access Server is Taken Down for Dutch and Russian Snoopingjames seibel
Easy VPN Router and Private Internet Access (PIA) users may have noticed that the German PIA server has been taken offline. This was caused by anti-privacy actions taken by Leaseweb, PIA’s German data center hosting partner.
As explained by PIA in a post, in 2008 Leaseweb allowed Russian and Dutch authorities to perform deep packet inspection on customers’ traffic. The target of this snooping was specifically unencrypted ICQ messenger traffic, which is very specific.
Because PIA encrypts all communication from customers, and because all traffic from users going to a server is mixed together, the techniques used by law enforcement from The Netherlands and Russia were not capable of monitoring PIA users’ traffic. There is no risk that PIA users’ traffic was monitored because of this court order, even if a PIA user was the intended target.
Nevertheless, Leaseweb’s willingness to allow authorities to secretly monitor communications was enough for PIA to remove their German servers. PIA has always put privacy first and foremost as their primary business goal, and this action shows it, despite the inconvenience of removing German PIA servers for customers.
Devotion to privacy is the #1 reason why Easy VPN Router only supports Private Internet Access. We support our customers’ privacy 100%, and even though PIA isn’t the cheapest VPN provider around, it is the safest. We continue to get requests to support other VPN providers, but how many of them take out a full page New York Times ad shaming US senators for attacking privacy protections?
At $40 per year for an annual subscription, PIA is affordable, and their transparency in revealing legal issues like what happened in Germany, combined with their public and aggressive support for privacy laws, makes us confident that PIA is the best solution for the Easy VPN Router.
What is “Deep Packet Inspection”, and why were PIA users safe?
Deep Packet Inspection, or “DPI”, is a fancy term for a simple process. On the internet, all data flows as “packets”, which are bundles of data. When you download a file, it looks like you are receiving a single piece of data, but behind the scenes it is broken up into many smaller packets of data and delivered to your computer, where it is reassembled into the complete file.
Using DPI, authorities at the Leaseweb facility were looking at each packet as it came in to look at the data. However, each packet of data sent through the Private Internet Access VPN is encrypted before it leaves your computer or device. The authorities would look at the packet and see a jumble of 1’s and 0’s that looked completely random.
Therefore, even if PIA users’ traffic was analyzed by the Russian and Dutch authorities, nothing they looked at could be decoded, and PIA users were not at any risk.