As you all know, a new data retention law has been passed in Russia which mandates all internet services to log user’s metadata, communications, and internet traffic for one year. In the wake of such events, Private Internet Access (PIA) decided to pull its services from Russia.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a renown VPN service that offers robust online security, over 3,342 servers in 24 countries, cross platform compatibility, and takes its subscribers online privacy very seriously.
To better understand their decision behind withdrawing their services from Russia, how it would impact their existing (and future) user base, and what implications it will have, we reached out to their CEO, Ted Kim in an interview.
VPNRanks: Now that the Data Retention Law in Russia requires internet services to keep logs of user’s internet traffic, how do you plan to facilitate users who are looking for Russian servers?
Ted Kim (CEO): Private Internet Access (PIA) left Russia in part because of their passage of intrusive privacy laws. We cannot set up servers in countries where we cannot ensure the privacy of our customers. Until those laws change, we won’t be going back.
VPNRanks: When can we expect PIA back up and running in Russia once again?
Ted Kim: At this point, it is impossible to say when we will be placing servers in Russia again, if ever. Users from within Russia are, as always, welcome to use our service. In fact, given the invasive nature of the lack of privacy rights in Russia, we highly recommend it.
VPNRanks: Currently, PIA is the only VPN provider that has pulled its services from Russia. Why do you think other VPN providers have not followed in your footsteps?
Ted Kim: It’s hard for us to comment on other VPN providers. Each VPN provider is different and has their own standards and practices. That being said, several other VPN providers have pulled their servers/services from Russia.
VPNRanks: How do you intend to serve your client base looking for Russian servers?
Ted Kim: We recommend that our client base use our other exit nodes around the world.
VPNRanks: The reddit community has been praising your stand in protecting users privacy and security by not kneeling to Russia’s new data logging law. How do you plan to counter similar situations in other countries with similar data logging laws?
Ted Kim: Privacy is our policy. It is a promise and commitment to all of our customers. To us, any company serious about individual privacy cannot log data. All of our servers are configured to not log anything. PIA left Russia not only because of the data logging laws, but also because our servers were seized without notice of any due process. We have to pull our servers out of any country that can seize them without due process or notice. Any company that doesn’t do so doesn’t care about their users’ privacy.
VPNRanks: In your opinion, what are the implications of such laws on the VPN industry in the long run?
Ted Kim: We will see but it’s clear that people who care about their privacy need to be using VPN’s, especially those that are in countries with oppressive privacy laws. Laws such as these are a compelling reason for people to have a VPN with strong and proven privacy policies, like PIA.