Enlarge (credit: Carlos Riquelme)
A privacy advocacy group has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that Hotspot Shield, a popular free VPN service, collects numerous pieces of data and intercepts traffic in contrast to the company’s claim that it provides “complete anonymity.”
In its 14-page filing, which was submitted Monday morning, the Center for Democracy and Technology claims that the company displays persistent cookies, and works with various other entities for advertising purposes, among other alleged unsavory practices.
The CDT partnered with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University to determine that the VPN service sometimes “redirects e-commerce traffic to partnering domains.” As the complaint continues:
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