Samsung Max VPN Collects Your Private Data and Sells It

Users relying on Samsung's Max VPN should look for other options to keep their data private and safe....
Samsung Max VPN Collects Your Private Data and Sells It
Written by Matt Milano
  • Users relying on Samsung’s Max VPN should look for other options to keep their data private and safe.

    Samsung includes and/or promotes its Max VPN service on its phones. As sharp-eyed Reddit user soboi12345 has pointed out, however, users’ data is not at all private when using Samsung’s VPN. In fact, the company collects unique identifying data and sells it to third parties.

    The company describes its practices in its Max Service Description and Privacy Policy:

    The Max Service app may log how you use your device, including unique identifiers, information about the software you’ve installed, device characteristics, information about your location and mobile carrier, the type of network you use to access web content, how much data you use, and the URLs you visit. We use this data to debug the Max Service app and to improve the user experience. We anonymize and/or aggregate this data and may allow our business partners access to it.

    To be clear, Samsung’s VPN is collecting unique identifiers, location data, the apps users have installed, and the websites they visit — and then selling that data rather than protecting users’ privacy.

    This is an appalling breach of trust for any VPN provider, especially since many VPN users are specifically looking to avoid exactly the kind of data collection Samsung is engaging in.

    Samsung’s behavior is even more egregious when considering that the company called out people’s data being used as a commodity when it launched Max VPN:

    “All over the world, data has become a commodity, but many plans are simply still too expensive for consumers that want to get the most out of the latest technology built into their devices,” said Seounghoon Oh, Vice President Samsung R&D Institute India, at the time. “With Samsung Max, our users in every corner of the globe now have increased autonomy and control over their data usage and privacy in an era of rising security threats, fraudulent apps and user profiling.”

    With such a strong statement, Samsung’s users could be forgiven for thinking the company would actually protect their privacy and not use their data as “a commodity.”

    As we have stated on WPN, and as The New York Times Wirecutter has recommended, Mullvad is the best VPN for users that truly care about their privacy. The company has a zero-logs policy and doesn’t save identifying information. In fact, users are given a random numeric account number for login purposes rather than using an email address or username.

    The company has also had extensive third-party security audits, is transparent about its ownership, has a clear privacy policy, good performance, and is reasonably priced.

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