It is time once again for us to publish our Annual Transparency Report. This is something we have been doing since 2015 because we feel that transparency and openness with our users are of the utmost importance. This is something we have pioneered and are glad to see other providers joining the fray, thanks to the VPN Trust Initiative (VTI).
Why we think annual transparency reports are important
Before we kick off with the figures, first we would like to explain why we think transparency reports are important. Nowadays, it can feel like using any service on the internet is just hiding behind layers of skulduggery. There is a very real lack of transparency on the internet nowadays, mainly because the efforts companies are going to track you is frankly disturbing.
And with a VPN, you are entrusting us with your data and to keep you secure and private in an online world that doesn’t lend itself to that. That is why we think it is important to share this information about the requests and notices we get and what we do with them.
The VPN Trust Initiative (VTI), hide.me VPN, and the VPN industry
Last year, we joined the VPN Trust Initiative. An initiative to help bring some accountability and standards to the VPN industry. The key principles behind the VTI are Security, Privacy, Advertising practices, Disclosure and Transparency, and Social responsibility.
These are tenets we have always tried to consider when running our service. And when they reached out for us to join, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to help spread those values across the whole industry. Because ultimately, we are for internet security and freedom for everyone worldwide regardless of platform.
And, one of the first big things that VTI has as a requirement for members, is the publishing of an annual transparency report. Something that we have been doing since 2015.
Anyway, let’s get into the details of our 2020 Annual Transparency Report.
Facts and figures
In this transparency report there are three different types of data requests that we receive, these are:
- Illegal activities – This covers the use of our VPN being used for things such as botnets, DDoS, and scams.
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – This category is about the transmission of copyrighted materials such as movies, TV shows, and music.
- Law enforcement & police requests – These are requests for data specifically from law enforcement and police around the world.
As our Terms of Service states, hide.me VPN does NOT provide a service for the commission of criminal acts and illegal activities. It is, in fact, a direct violation of our Terms of Service and we are firmly against such practises.
This category represents complaints that are made regarding illegal activities originating from a hide.me VPN IP address. ‘Illegal activities’ includes things such as DDoS attacks, botnets, scams, and spam.
We would like to point out that we do act and reply to every request. But, as we don’t store any logs, we have no data to present when requested.
- Q1 of 2020 – 9 requests received
- Q2 of 2020 – 0 requests received
- Q3 of 2020 – 0 requests received
- Q4 of 2020 – 0 requests received
- Total number of requests received – 9
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
The figures below show the number of DMCA complaints we received in 2020. DMCA complaints normally pertain to our VPN being used for things like the torrenting, sharing, or streaming of copyrighted materials (movies, TV Shows, music etc.).
- Q1 of 2020 – 2132 requests received
- Q2 of 2020 – 2374 requests received
- Q3 of 2020 – 2003 requests received
- Q4 of 2020 – 3209 requests received
- Total number of requests received – 9718
Law enforcement & police requests
These figures show the number of times hide.me VPN received requests for data from law enforcement and police from around the world in 2020. We don’t store any data, so whilst we do respond to every request made, we have nothing to hand over.
- Q1 of 2020 – 1 request received
- Q2 of 2020 – 2 requests received
- Q3 of 2020 – 1 request received
- Q4 of 2020 – 0 requests received
- Total number of requests received – 4
What do we do with these requests?
We do respond and cooperate with every single request we get. But, because we are based in Malaysia, we have no legal obligation to store logs. And because we are a zero log VPN provider, this means that we have no data to hand over.