Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) add security and privacy to online communications and activity. To drive further awareness and trust in this crucial technology, the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (‘i2Coalition’) has announced the launch of the VPN Trust Initiative (VTI), an industry-led and member-driven consortium of VPN business leaders focused on improving digital safety for consumers by building understanding, strengthening trust and mitigating risk for VPN users.
Founding VTI members include five companies: ExpressVPN; NordVPN; VyprVPN; Surfshark; and NetProtect (whose VPN brands include encrypt.me, WLVPN, SugarSync, IPVanish, StrongVPN, OverPlay, and SaferVPN).
The i2Coalition is the leading voice for web hosting companies, data centres, domain registrars and registries, cloud infrastructure providers, managed services providers, and related tech. By introducing the VTI, the i2Coalition seeks to foster cooperation in the industry and leverage collective first-hand knowledge and insights to advocate for beneficial VPN technical standards and business best practices. The VTI is dedicated to serving as the voice of the industry, collaboratively strengthening public trust in VPNs, promoting appropriate guidelines and helping consumers make informed VPN choices.
Experts estimate that 30% of Internet users have utilised a VPN or proxy server in the past month. Many users choose to employ VPNs to safely and securely gain unrestricted access to the global Internet, and it’s expected that the number of VPN users will continue to quickly grow in the coming years. As a result, VPN industry revenue is expected to grow from US$34.591 billion in 2018 to US$50.153 billion by 2024.
VPNs provide crucial benefits that protect users’ digital privacy, security, and rights. These benefits include:
- Encrypting and shielding users’ online activities from unauthorised access by hackers, ISPs, Wi-Fi network operators and others
- Enhancing users’ privacy by masking their IP addresses, reducing websites’ ability to track them across the Internet and identify their physical locations
- Protecting users from undue Internet access restrictions or censorship, whether at home or while travelling
To best provide these benefits, VPNs need to follow best practices to ensure the safety of their users. The reputation of this important technology rests on VPNs following technical and ethical best practices. The VTI gathers VPN insiders and aligns industry voices to advocate, create, vet and validate industry policies and guidelines that ensure trust in the VPN marketplace and promote constructive self-regulatory practices to best serve consumers.
With a focus on advocacy, awareness and education, 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.
“Connecting to a Virtual Private Network helps ensure your activity isn’t being intercepted, especially when you’re using a shared Internet connection. VPNs are a foundational technology for a safer Internet, so it’s important that VPN providers adhere to best practices. However, it’s also important that new legislation doesn’t inadvertently limit the effectiveness of VPNs,” said Christian Dawson, Co-Founder of the i2Coalition. “This initiative offers a vital and unique opportunity for the industry to come together as a collective and spearhead real awareness, education, and progress. In doing so, we not only position our members as stewards of the Internet with active and dedicated interest in the global Internet’s safety and efficacy, we also deliver highly valuable, beneficial and transformational action as digital security concerns grow and the technological world evolves.”