Betternet is a well-known VPN provider with approximately 40 million users all around the world. The user count is this high thanks to the company’s free version of the software, which has been the target of numerous accusations regarding privacy issues and even malware. Today, however, we’ll focus on the premium version of Betternet VPN and investigate the overall level of privacy and security offered by the VPN service provider.
Betternet is based in Canada, which is not good news for regular VPN users. As we all know, Canada is a member of the Five Eyes Surveillance Treaty, which means that any gathered information can be shared with other members.
In order to protect the privacy and security of their users, VPNs have to either be located in a country without mandatory data retention laws and outside the international spy network or implement an airtight privacy and no-logging policy. The US is well known for carrying out blanket mass surveillance and Canada has been its close partner throughout the entire operation. Bottom line, Betternet is not ideally positioned to offer solid protection to its users, at least from the geographical standpoint.
Before going any further, we’ll again point out that we’re examining the premium version of Betternet VPN. The free version survives by sharing your information with advertisers, so we advise you to think twice before opting for it.
When speaking of Betternet’s premium version, the provider gathers two sets of information:
- The information you choose to provide – This includes the data required to create an account with the company (your email and payment information).
- Automatically collected information – This includes your IP address, operating system version, hardware model, language, browser type, and wireless or mobile network information, as well as the apps you use and the websites you visit.
The company claims that none of this data can be used to positively identify you as an individual, which we have trouble believing. Betternet might obfuscate and anonymize your IP address as soon as you start your session and delete it once you’re done, but it still has it at some point. The company also states that your IP address can never be connected to your browsing history, which is also pretty difficult to believe.