US Congress calls for the FTC to regulate how VPN companies operate

US Democrats have called on the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to crack down on fraudulent practices in the virtual private network (VPN) industry. The edge has called. In an open letter, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) cited research suggesting that three-quarters of the most popular VPNs “misrepresented their products,” giving consumers a false sense of security.

The news follows the overturning of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. calf allows states to ban abortion. That may get people signing up for VPN services, but Wyden and Eshoo raised concerns about the level of privacy they can actually expect.

“Advocates have … found that leading VPN services are intentionally misrepresenting their product’s functionality and failing to provide their users with adequate security,” they said, citing research from consumer reports. “We are extremely concerned that this misleading advertising gives abortion seekers a false sense of security when seeking abortion-related care or information, and puts them at greater risk of prosecution.”

The letter notes a “lack of practical tools” to scrutinize security claims made by VPN providers, allowing them to advertise data that may be false. They also asked the FTC to develop a booklet that would educate anyone seeking an abortion about online privacy and the risks and benefits of using a VPN service.

“With abortion being or soon to be illegal in 13 states and severely restricted in many more, these abusive and exploitative data practices are simply unacceptable,” the letter reads. “We urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take immediate action…to curb abusive and deceptive data practices at companies that provide VPN services to protect internet users who seek abortions.”

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