Open Source Code – The Future of User Privacy

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Will we see more and more open source software in the future, or is this a passing trend that will eventually die out?

According to survey data, open source is definitely here to stay. Right now, around 78% of businesses use open source software, and this trend is likely to continue to grow. After all, businesses benefit a lot from open source code, as they enjoy better security, scalability, and much easier deployment, as ProPrivacy explains in their guide: Why open source is- it important?

But what does this mean for you, the end user? Will you enjoy better privacy? Short answer – yes. But if you’re looking for more details, keep reading.

What does open source software really mean?

Here’s why open source code is the only way to enjoy true privacy, and why you should use an open source VPN client if you want to keep your data secure online.

Open source code is something that is “open” to the public. Basically anyone can inspect it, copy it, learn from it and sometimes even modify it without fear of legal repercussions. To be truly open source, the software must also have an open source license that meets all the standards of the Open Source definition.

These days, most developers publish their open source code on GitHub.

By comparison, closed source code belongs only to the company, team, or person who created it. No one else can use it or inspect it, unless they want to follow the long arm of the law.

Is open source code inherently better for privacy?

Yes. There are no ifs and buts here.

If you are extremely focused on privacy, open source is the only solution, especially when using a VPN.

  • You can fully check the code on your own to make sure everything is correct. If you’re not tech-savvy, that’s okay as the open source code means other skilled security experts will have a much easier time performing audits.
  • Open source VPN clients mean there is no risk that there are vulnerabilities or backdoors hidden in the code.
  • Additionally, it is much easier to trust an open source VPN client. You never have to worry about whether the VPN client is doing shady things behind your back (like logging your traffic).

We are not saying that a closed source VPN client cannot be trusted at all. But if you’re the type of person who needs full control over their internet privacy, open source options are simply better for your sanity.

Are there open source VPNs?

Well, OpenVPN, SoftEther, and WireGuard® to begin with. OpenVPN is the most popular, but SoftEther and WireGuard® are much lighter (which means you get good security and smooth speeds).

But using either of these options isn’t as easy as installing a client on your device. You need a little technical know-how to put it all together. Maybe WireGuard® will be smoother because it is more user-friendly. But you’ll still have to buy and set up your own server, which can cost you anywhere from $ 15 to $ 100 per month.

Besides these options, you can see articles recommending a few other open source solutions. But they’re not too popular or user-friendly, and most of them only work on Linux.

Fortunately, at PIA we have also started to embrace open source – announcing a shift to open source in 2018, and recently offering our Android code open for inspection – which means all PIA VPN clients are now open source VPN clients.

In addition, we have even started to contact external auditors. And, also recently launched a closed beta for the WireGuard® protocol.

Thus, at PIA, we are definitely committed to total transparency and user confidentiality. If you want to learn more about the benefits of using PIA, check out this in-depth review (don’t worry, you can easily browse through it).

The bottom line

The future is open source. Statistics prove it, and it really is the only way to ensure user privacy and help people trust brands (especially VPNs).

What else do you think people should be using an open source VPN client for? Or do you think closed source options are better for privacy? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

“WireGuard®” is a registered trademark of Jason A. Donenfeld.

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