A privacy group in the United States has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against ‘Hotspot Shield’. According to a report by ArsTechnica, the group has filed a 14-page long complaint against the popular VPN service. The report points out that the company is collecting pieces of data in addition to redirecting the internet traffic to partner websites. This is in contrast to the claims of ‘complete anonymity’ from the company.
The complaint details that ‘Hotspot Shield’ displays persistent cookies to work with third party companies for advertising and other unethical and unfair practices. According to the report, the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) had partnered with researchers that were working at Carnegie Mellon University to investigate if VPN services redirect ‘e-commerce traffic to partnering domains’.
CDT claims that this kind of interception can be termed as ‘unfair and deceptive trade practices’. The report asks FTC to investigate the VPN service provider so that they can stop these practices. The interesting thing to note here is that there is no sure shot way for users to check if the VPN services they are using are trustworthy or engaging in deceptive practices as mentioned above.