UPDATE 7/5/2017: My connection to the ProtonVPN endpoints using their Windows client is extremely unreliable. At random intervals, the connection just "stops working" and the only way to fix it is to connect to a new location. I have had a support request open for over 1.5 weeks and my issue hasn't been resolved yet. I cannot recommend the ProtonVPN service at this time for the reasons listed below and because my experience has been unstable (and support has been slow to non-existent).
Since the official public launch, I have received dozens of emails (and Twitter DMs) from readers asking me to review ProtonVPN.
A group of scientists with a track record of building secure products (ProtonMail) designed ProtonVPN from the ground up to be safe and privacy-enhancing. The promise is that they will bring the same end to end encryption model to the highly uncertain world of VPN.
They talk a lot about the benefits of being headquartered in Switzerland, and many of their statements are accurate. Let's talk about the Five Eyes
Who are the "Five Eyes"?
With the Edward Snowden leaks, we learned about the complex data collection agreements between "friendly" countries. The first significant agreement is called the UKUSA agreement and is an agreement by the United Kingson, United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand to collect, analyse and share intelligence information with each other.
This group is referred to as the "five eyes" because of their laser-like focus on sucking up incredibly massive amounts of data and sharing it with their "partner" intelligence friends. Some have even accused these countries of using this partnership to circumvent local laws designed to present local intelligence agencies from spying on their people (they get another five eyes Country to do it and report back).
So the Five Eyes countries are:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Not wanting to be left out, other countries soon sought membership in this coveted group, and now we believe the extended group should be called the 14 eyes:
- France Netherlands
Switzerland is not part of the 14 eyes (or five eyes)
So protonVPN is located in a much more privacy friendly jurisdiction that does not have a formal intelligence gathering and sharing agreement with the rest of the world.
ProtonVPN uses industry standard OpenVPN with UDP or TCP. It currently has a ProtonVPN branded Windows client.