Without notice, Dutch authorities seized two (Virtual Private Network) VPN servers belonging to Perfect Privacy. Perfect Privacy, a VPN provider in Switzerland, was not contacted by law enforcement before their servers went down. Instead, law enforcement went directly to the hosting company I3D.
VPNs often become a part of an investigation when police investigate online crime. Although the crime being investigated is unknown, Perfect Privacy’s VPN servers appear to have been used in an ongoing criminal investigation.
The company tweeted on August 24th,, letting customers know that two of their Rotterdam-based servers had been seized. A day later, the company posted another tweet notifying customers that Rotterdam servers were back online, thanks to the hosting company I3D.
VPN companies that log customer data are under constant scrutiny by the community. Some do it openly and some do it secretly. However, Perfect Privacy is a VPN company that claims not to store or record any user data. The press release published after the seizure reassures customers that their data remains secure.
Today our hoster I3D informed us that the Dutch authorities have seized two servers from our location in Rotterdam. Currently we have no further information since the responsible law enforcement agency did not get in touch with us directly, we were merely informed by our hoster.
Since we are not logging any data there is currently no reason to believe that any user data was compromised.
I3D is kindly providing us with replacement servers (many thanks to them!) so that we can continue to operate our Rotterdam with all three servers soon.
We will inform you in the corresponding forum thread if there is new information available.
TorrentFreak reached out to I3D for comment but details about the case were not divulged. I3D may also be in the dark. Like any hosting company, I3D mentions their intention to be in full compliance with the law. This is a standard practice in the industry during these situations. No hosting company wants to be held responsible for illegal activity on their servers.
The email response TorrentFreak received from I3D:
When the Dutch police contact us with a subpoena, we work with them in a professional manner and ensure their request and our responses are in compliance with the Dutch law. We think with the affected customer as well, for example by making temporary capacity available so the customer does not suffer extended downtime during the investigation.
As of September 2nd, Perfect Privacy as yet to be contacted by local authorities. Lars Mueller, a Perfect Privacy spokesperson, reached out to Softpedia regarding the topic. Mueller makes it perfectly clear that the seizure will be almost worthless to Dutch police. In case of a cold boot attack, however, the VPN company did rebuild all relevant cryptographic keys.
The Dutch police still did not contact us and we have no idea why the servers have been seized. The seizure is also pretty pointless because we obviously do not log, so there is nothing to find on theses servers. We did however rebuild all cryptographic keys for the rotterdam location, just in case they tried a cold boot attack on the running system to extract keys. But this attack is very unlikely, the police took the system nearly 12 hours after it was disconnected from the internet. Thanks to the good cooperation with our hoster I3d new servers were up and running in less than 18 hour.
Dutch law enforcement has a history of disrupting privacy and anonymity services. In early 2016, the Dutch government intelligence service and corresponding law enforcement shut down Ennetcom. Ennetcom was a Dutch company that provided encrypted communications for mobile phones.
These types of situations are why the community places so much emphasis on choosing a good VPN service. If Perfect Privacy is being as open and honest as they are making apparent, then customers should have no concern. Many VPN providers are not nearly as safe. The way Perfect Privacy has publicly handled the situation is being applauded online too. However, the public will likely be in the dark until Dutch law enforcement makes a statement.