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Turkish Investigation Proves ExpressVPN Doesn't Store Logs

Sarit Newman Updated on 30th November 2023 Internet Security Researcher

According to Turkish sources, an ExpressVPN server was used to delete incriminating evidence in an ongoing investigation of the assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey.

On December 19, 2016, police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş shot and killed Karlov at a photography exhibition in Ankara. After the assassination, which led to Altıntaş’ death as well, social media posts and emails written by the police officer were deleted via a VPN.

Turkish authorities tracked the allocated IP address to ExpressVPN, a highly popular and well-known VPN company. Much to the authorities’ dismay, they could not find any information incriminating the perpetrators, due to the fact that ExpressVPN does not retain any data logs.

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands where there are no data retention requirements. The company stated that “ExpressVPN does not and has never possessed any customer connection logs that would enable [them] to know which customer was using the specific IPs cited by the investigators.”

The confirmation that ExpressVPN does not keep data logs provides a sense of assurance. Although numerous VPNs today pledge to erase data logs, recent incidents indicate that this isn't always the case. In addition to these events, ExpressVPN has made additional efforts to showcase its dedication to its privacy policy. To affirm its adherence to this policy, ExpressVPN recently underwent an examination by PwC, a global leader among accounting firms.

In October 2017, PureVPN faced accusations of providing the FBI with information that led to the arrest of cyberstalker Ryan S. Lin. PureVPN stated that the company does not retain user activity, although it does log the IP addresses of users.

HMA, another popular VPN provider, had a similar occurrence back in 2011 when members of LulzSec hacked Sony Pictures and boasted using HMA to conceal their identities.

The CDT recently claimed that Hotspot Shield, a free anonymous VPN proxy service, collected user data and intercepted traffic which they then shared with third-party advertisers.

The fact that Turkish officials could not trace the culprit of the deleted files is a refreshing affirmation to ExpressVPN’s security.

“While it’s unfortunate that security tools can be abused for illicit purposes,” ExpressVPN concluded in their statement, “they are critical for our safety and the preservation of our right to privacy online. ExpressVPN is fundamentally opposed to any efforts to install “backdoors” or attempts by governments to otherwise undermine such technologies.”

Let’s hope that other VPN companies follow ExpressVPN’s lead.

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About the Author

Sarit is an experienced internet security writer who believes everyone has the right to online privacy.

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