Finnish Court Says Seized F-Secure VPN Logs Should Be Destroyed

By Bill Toulas / October 22, 2020

The Court of Appeal in Helsinki, Finland, has ruled that the National Bureau of Investigation in the country has illegally seized VPN logs from F-Secure’s Freedome VPN service back in January 2019. As a result, the law enforcement agency will now have to destroy the logs and somehow prove that they did it. The investigators were looking to dig deeper into the evidence around a serious crime that was related to a user of the Freedome VPN service, but F-Secure objected to the bulk way the agency moved.

According to the details that surfaced, instead of accessing only the communications that concerned the investigated suspect, the law enforcement agency seized a lot more. They simply justified that by saying that none of these logs are confidential information and that no laws were broken. F-Secure proved in court that they were actually acting as intermediaries in the communications the investigators were interested in, so the firm should be the first party to target anyway.

The fact that F-Secure decided to design Freedome VPN in a way that logs some user data was what brought trouble upon them in the first place, though. According to what was heard in court, the logs involved customer IP address, device ID, session ID, start and end time of the connection with the VPN server, and also the amount of data used in the session. The investigators were particularly interested in the amount of data and connection times.

What wasn’t in the logs is which sites were visited by the subscriber, so there is some privacy level while using Freedome. Also, the company maintains the logs for 90 days and deletes them afterward. We have reached out to F-Secure to determine what user data they log after all that has happened last year, and we will update this post with their comment as soon as we hear back.

As for the F-Secure Freedome VPN product itself, we did point out some areas that need improvement during our in-depth review. It is a product that’s well suited to people who aren’t paranoid about their privacy and anonymity, and it certainly has a lot of potential if its most interesting functionality and unique features are further developed.

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