Interview with Seed 4 Me VPN
Here is some detailed information about the company that one of the co-founders sent to me before answering the interview questions.
Actually Seed4.Me appeared around 1.5 year ago, when I understood I needed a VPN. I checked existing options and thought it is overpriced, require to sign up for the whole year even without trying a service. So my choice was obvious – do it yourself. After some time – I was asked, by friend to share the server – since he also wanted a VPN, then friend of the friend as about VPN and so on, till we gоt 4 people. Then there was an epiphany!
My idea was – let’s make a service where you can try first and then get access for a short period of time – like 1 day, 1 week, save the money. Or extend for longer, but we never bound our clients with 1 YEAR or 6 MONTH subscription.
Since we did not have a big budget to start – we decided to work by invitations. When we saw available capacity – we invited new people, but many things has changed since that time.
Now there is a cloud built in order to support scale-able demand, we still work by invitation – but it is matter of minutes to increase the capacity.
I would say we passed quite long way from 2 people needing a VPN server to what we have right now. We faced problems with law and had to study how to work on such cases, traffic abuse, quality complains and so on. One of important things we studied was VPN is a subjective service. It means – you never know how it works till you try it.
Internet connections are really heterogeneous, so someone can have 10Mb/s, another 1Mb/s and there is no server fault in that – it is wire problem in between, you never know till you try.
Well, I can speak a lot, but let’s come down to questions:
1) Does Seed 4 Me keep any logs, IP Addresses, Timestamps, Bandwidth caps, Traffic or other data?
We have unlimited data and fair bandwidth usage policy which is forced by each VPN server in the cluster. We do not monitor or do DPI on user connections, but we store session information for 7 days in order to support network health. This data is not stored on VPN servers itself but rather sent to central secure server. It is not shared or used for any other purpose then debugging connectivity issues. And as I said, if there are no complains it is removed.
2) What type of Encryption do you use?
We use the best what’s possible from PPTP, it is MMPE 256-bit encryption. Our experiments shows that PPTP is a good tradeoff between performance, security and easy setup for the user. We have L2TP in beta and OpenVPN in very close plans.
3) Where are your servers located and what jurisdiction do you operate under?
Servers are located in US, UK, Hong-Kong and Netherlands, but we operate under Taiwanese jurisdiction now. In general, location of VPN servers is not important, since there is no data stored. Even if it is confiscated, there is nothing to see. Authentication and accounting is happening in other place.
4) How do you generally handle requests from law enforcement and copyright agencies?
Well, regarding enforcement agencies. We do not welcome illegal activities like CP, SPAM, hacking, abuse, DDoS. Our service was made to promote freedom and security, rather then harm other people. I always like to compare it with kitchen knife, you can cook the food or kill people with that. We do not want it to be used for the second.
But our rule is simple – we do not share data regarding our clients. When we handle the complain, we do everything to stay legit, stop malicious activity with firewall.
5) Do you have access to all your servers, and does the datacenter you use log?
If you mean physical access, then no. Servers are secured with the limited access in the provider’s premises. But we have full access from software point of view. We try to use reliable providers who claims “no logging”. But even if they do – there is no much sense in that, since our VPN servers are used by many people at the same time, there is no way to distinguish.
6) Does your service support bittorrent?
Yes, we have torrent’s friendly VPN servers in Netherlands.
We would like to thank Seed 4 Me VPN for giving us a bit of history behind the company. Very detailed and interesting.