Police confiscate hardware from VPN provider
VPN provider Perfect Privacy is reporting that, on Friday morning (August 20th) police searched a house occupied by a Perfect Privacy network provider. The search warrant was reportedly issued on suspicion that unknown perpetrators may have routed potentially criminal communications via the servers in the German city of Erfurt.
Perfect Privacy is an association of private individuals from all over the world who operate VPN servers and offer the service via a common interface. Users can pay to route their entire web traffic in encrypted form through Perfect Privacy servers, thus reducing traceability. Perfect Privacy claims not to keep log files.
Five PCs, including storage media, were confiscated, resulting in losses totalling €6000 to €6500. The company is at pains to point out that computers used in connection with the VPN service are completely encrypted. According to Perfect Privacy, police did not confiscate the actual VPN servers, "Perfect Privacy's servers in Erfurt are [...] still online, can be pinged, and Perfect Privacy continues to be in the possession of the root access and all administrative rights."
The company has nevertheless temporarily suspended the Erfurt servers to give members with "elevated security needs" time to be made aware of the ongoing police investigation. Why the police confiscated the administrator's computers rather than the VPN servers and whether the police are implementing other measures such as eavesdropping on telecommunications are both unknown. Perfect Privacy is applying, through a lawyer, for leave to view the files relating to the case.