The VPN Trust Initiative (VTI) Principles have been revealed by the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition) this week.
i2Coalition is a voice for web hosting companies, data centres, domain registrars and registries, cloud infrastructure providers, managed services providers and other foundational Internet technologies.
The VTI Principles offer a comprehensive set of best practices for VPNs providers to bolster consumer confidence and provider accountability and ultimately increase VPN adoption and access to the technology’s benefits, the organisation states.
The VTI Principles focus on five key areas: security, privacy, advertising practices, disclosure and transparency and social responsibility.
They’ve been informed by input from civil society and other outside experts and have three key aims: to protect the privacy and security of VPN users; to offer practical policy guidelines for VPN providers; and to ensure policymakers, regulators and the wider market have access to criteria for evaluating these technologies.
i2Coalition co-founder Christian Dawson says, “Releasing the VTI Principles is an inaugural step in what is an ongoing process of aligning industry voices to advocate, create, vet and validate industry policies and guidelines, and were excited to see the benefits for the market grow through their adoption.
“By creating and distributing resources such as the VTI Principles to the market, we’re helping to establish a beneficial and self-regulated accountability model that not only ensures trust and security, it helps the reputation and use of these important VPN technologies to thrive, driving greater adoption.”
NordVPN co-founder Tom Okman says, “The release of VTI Principles and Standards sets a bar for the whole industry. In the last few years, the number of VPN service providers has skyrocketed.
“From the societal point of view, this is a positive turn, giving people freedom of choice on how and by whom their data should be handled.
“However, the rapid industry growth has also brought a lack of clarity. VPN providers operate in different ways, and not necessarily all of them apply the best standards when developing their service.
“VTI understood that and sought to create a set of principles: guidelines on which the services could rely. We hope that these principles will help the industry to become more trustworthy, transparent and secure.”
The VPN Trust Initiative formally launched in December 2019 as a consortium of VPN business leaders focused on building understanding, strengthening trust and mitigating risk for VPN users and providers. The VTI is dedicated to ensuring VPN users gain the most benefits from this technology.
The founding five VTI members include: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, VyprVPN, Surfshark, and NetProtect (whose VPN brands include encrypt.me, WLVPN, SugarSync, IPVanish, StrongVPN, OverPlay, and SaferVPN).
Companies that have since joined the initiative include Ivacy VPN, CloudFlare, Mysterium Network, GoldenFrog, Hide.me and WeVPN.
The VTI aims to reach consumers, legislators and technologists, promoting appropriate industry-led stewardship, providing accurate information to policymakers, informing the greater technology sphere, and collaboratively establishing solutions to pressing VPN challenges.