Mullvad VPN has announced the police in Sweden, where the company is based, attempted to execute a search warrant on their headquarters last week, but failed to get hold of anything.
The claimed raid was beaten back thanks to their no user logs policy which they successfully argued would make the seizure of any of the company’s servers illegal under Swedish law.
How the supposed raid unfolded
In a statement on its website, the Swedish company announced that they had been visited by at least six officers from the Swedish police department known as the National Operations Department (NOA).
The officers arrived at their headquarters in the Swedish city of Gothenburg with a search warrant. Their intention was to seize Mullvad VPN servers containing customer data.
That was where the Mullvad VPN lawyers stepped in. They argued that because Mullvad VPN has a no user logs policy, the data that the police officers were attempting to seize did not exist.
Mullvad VPN, like many premium VPN providers, operates a no user logs policy which means that they do not keep records of the vast majority of customer data that could be available to them.
This includes such things as details of their user’s internet activity, their own IP addresses, connection timestamps, and much more.
In the company statement, they explained that “We argued they had no reason to expect to find what they were looking for and any seizures would therefore be illegal under Swedish law.”
Being dogged detectives, the Swedish police officers were not going to take this claim at face value. So, Mullvad VPN then had to demonstrate their no user logs to the police and prove that the data they were after simply didn’t exist.
It would seem that they did this successfully because, after consultations with the Swedish prosecutor (which will have been the body to issue the search warrant), the police departed without seizing any Mullvad VPN servers, equipment, or data.
What does this incident tell us about Mullvad VPN?
Mullvad VPN is a VPN provider that has been quietly building a very strong reputation over the past few years. It was at pains to note in its statement that the company has never been visited by Swedish law enforcement agencies before.
At this stage, we don’t know exactly what it was that the Swedish police were looking for, and the chances are we never will.
While the majority of VPN users are legitimately seeking to ensure their online privacy and security, there is a small minority that use VPNs to try and mask criminal activities online.
It seems likely that the Swedish police are investigating a crime that involved a shared IP Address that belonged to Mullvad VPN. They were probably hoping that the VPNs data would reveal the true identity of this criminal.
However, as Mullvad VPN does not keep user logs, such data does not exist, and this avenue of enquiry is now likely to be closed.
It is perfectly understandable for Mullvad VPN users to be a little concerned about the Swedish police raiding their VPN provider.
But actually, if anything, this incident should reaffirm their faith in Mullvad VPN as a no-logs VPN service.
If this claim was in any way questionable, the Swedish police would have seized their servers and taken further action. The fact that they did not is a testament to the fact that Mullvad VPN’s no user logs guarantee is rock solid.
It is not for no reason that Mullvad VPN has decided to publicise this raid. They know that this is a good news story and is every bit as good as an independent audit of their privacy policies – as well as being a damn sight cheaper as well.
Should VPN users continue to use Mullvad VPN?
There is no doubt that this raid enhances Mullvad VPN’s reputation and that VPN users can have even great confidence in the provider’s privacy policies than before.
It is one of a small number of premium VPN providers that can prove that their VPN service is private and offer up indisputable evidence to back up the claim.
This case should also be a lesson to all law enforcement agencies around the world about the importance of online privacy and security and the fact that VPNs are dependable and not an easy source of information to wrap up your inquiry quicker.
VPN users should continue to use Mullvad VPN with confidence, and that is also the case for all other VPNs that have a no user logs guarantee that has been independently verified or stress tested by local law enforcement.