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Mad153

PIA and their "advertising"

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Sorry if this has been posted before or if I'm in the wrong subsection.

 

Ltt has had a PIA sponsorship for years now, and they've been trying (imo) to mislead the public. The thing that really annoyed me, in today's techlinked, is this:

Screenshot_20200707-103347.thumb.png.fe0ea7de6f5272e5d07279a38094de9c.png

 

Two things annoyed me here: 

First, the visible search term. It's almost impossible to go to a modern day search engine and get a result via http. If you manually change the URL, it sends you back to the encrypted version. There is no way, unless you get out of your way to do so,  to send a search query using http.

 

Sure, if you are using IE 6 or something ridiculous, you may be able to. But VPNs are just a tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel, your data leaves to the rest of the internet, unencrypted. 

 

Secondly, the Gmail part of the "unencrypted" version. Unless the worry here is your school or work or ISP etc seeing that you are using Gmail, for some reason, this seems to also be misleading.

 

(And before you say what about places such as China, if they are watching from China, they first already have a VPN and secondly know that having a paid VPN is illegal there.)

 

 

This is because, since 2014, there has been no way to receive, view or send emails with Gmail over http. 

Source: https://gmail.googleblog.com/2014/03/staying-at-forefront-of-email-security.html?m=1

 

I don't think scaring people is a good way to go about business at all, especially as they run these ads towards less tech savvy people too on their website.

 

Oh, and wasn't pia bought by a massive advertising company a while back?


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Tom Scott made a video on this fairly recently on Youtube:

 

but to summarize: the only particular use for a VPN is if you're using outdated technology, or to obfuscate your location, or to obfuscate from your ISP or local system administrators (not from the world, PIA still "knows" where your traffic is going). It's not the be-all-and-end-all of internet security that it's advertised as.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 minutes ago, Eighjan said:

Shouldn't this be addressed to PIA, if you feel that strongly...?

With all the scummy advertising with VPNs around, I feel unlikely that they would care.

 

4 minutes ago, James Evens said:

http is still around

Yes

5 minutes ago, James Evens said:

mails are and will be unencrypted for at least another decade

Yes but my issue here is with the advertising. Pia can't further encrypt Gmail emails. 

 

6 minutes ago, James Evens said:

it "changes" the IP

Yes it does, but the average person does not need to. 


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2 minutes ago, pythonmegapixel said:

Tom Scott made a video on this fairly recently on Youtube:

 

Was about to post it 🤪


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1 minute ago, Mad153 said:

With all the scummy advertising with VPNs around, I feel unlikely that they would care.

So; the whole idea of the thread is a sleight on who LMG choose to use as their sponsors...?  Nice one; maybe take the issue to @LinusTech personally.


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9 minutes ago, Mad153 said:

Yes but my issue here is with the advertising. Pia can't further encrypt Gmail emails.

You're overthinking the inference of the image; it's just a symbolism for 'general internet traffic'.


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24 minutes ago, Mad153 said:

Oh, and wasn't pia bought by a massive advertising company a while back?

There's been a whole debate about this and everything around PIA at that time and whether LMG would continue working with them, and it concluded on yes. So it's kinda sorted already.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 minutes ago, Eighjan said:

the whole idea of the thread is a sleight on who LMG choose to use as their sponsors...?  Nice one; maybe take the issue to @LinusTech personally.

My main issue is that ltt is using their position of typically well informed knowledge about computers and technology in general to sell this product that most people would be misled into buying when they didn't need it.

 

I don't think ltt or Pia will change, because there are many companies out there offering the same services with much scummier advertising saying things as far as *cough* Nord *cough* which had their ad banned here in the UK for being so outrageously misleading and suggesting you needed their services so your credit card data wasn't leaked. 

 


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Just now, Kilrah said:

There's been a whole debate about this and everything around PIA at that time and whether LMG would continue working with them, and it concluded on yes.

I couldn't remember if that was PIA or NordVPN...


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6 minutes ago, Mad153 said:

My main issue is that ltt is using their position of typically well informed knowledge about computers and technology in general to sell this product that most people would be misled into buying when they didn't need it.

 

I don't think ltt or Pia will change, because there are many companies out there offering the same services with much scummier advertising saying things as far as *cough* Nord *cough* which had their ad banned here in the UK for being so outrageously misleading and suggesting you needed their services so your credit card data wasn't leaked. 

 

Do you skip through the sponsor slots or do you watch & listen to enough of them to be aware that they (LTT/LMG) advocate 'safe browsing practices' on top of using a VPN if you want to be critically safe...?

I'm sure I've even seen them say that a VPN alone is not a guarantee of 100% safety...


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Posted · Original PosterOP
9 minutes ago, Eighjan said:

'safe browsing practices' on top of using a VPN if you want to be critically safe...?

Yes, but imo that's purposefully vague... Your average person, which they are targeting, would probably think that means using an Incognito browsing tab. And it's completely without context or any of that advice on their website.

 

18 minutes ago, Eighjan said:

You're overthinking the inference of the image; it's just a symbolism for 'general internet traffic'.

I don't know, it quite clearly says Gmail... And therefore their statement about it encrypting Gmail more is false.


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1 minute ago, Mad153 said:

I don't know, it quite clearly says Gmail... And therefore their statement about it encrypting Gmail more is false.

Would it have been any different if it said (simply) email...?

Do you see using a VPN as an inference of underhanded activity...?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, Eighjan said:

Would it have been any different if it said (simply) email...?

Do you see using a VPN as an inference of underhanded activity...?

It doesn't and that's the issue.

It quite clearly is trying to state that without their services, other people can read your Gmail and that is wrong and misleading. No magical inference or generalisation. They are selling a product here on the basis that it makes Gmail messages encrypted and otherwise they won't be, and that is completely false.


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6 minutes ago, Mad153 said:

It doesn't and that's the issue.

It quite clearly is trying to state that without their services, other people can read your Gmail and that is wrong and misleading. No magical inference or generalisation.

My paranoia/overthinking about things is based in (high-functioning) Asperger's Syndrome... you're taking things to levels I've never reached.

9 minutes ago, Mad153 said:

They are selling a product here on the basis that it makes Gmail messages encrypted and otherwise they won't be, and that is completely false.

That's how YOU see it...


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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, Eighjan said:

My paranoia/overthinking about things is based in (high-functioning) Asperger's Syndrome... you're taking things to levels I've never reached.

Please don't take mental health into this... 

 

1 minute ago, Eighjan said:

That's how YOU see it...

I don't think this is getting anywhere and don't really want to push it,but from a legal point of view, it's what is says, not what it infers. If they put that screenshot on a billboard, it will be taken down here in the UK for false advertising. No ifs or buts, because what it STATES is wrong.

Again, these ads are targeted to less tech savvy audience as well. To my grandma or my mum, they would definitely think it meant their gmail was not safe. They don't have the tech knowledge to know it refers to something else.


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2 minutes ago, Mad153 said:

I don't think this is getting anywhere and don't really want to push it,but from a legal point of view, it's what is says, not what it infers. If they put that screenshot on a billboard, it will be taken down here in the UK for false advertising. No ifs or buts, because what it STATES is wrong.

Again, these ads are targeted to less tech savvy audience as well. To my grandma or my mum, they would definitely think it meant their gmail was not safe. They don't have the tech knowledge to know it refers to something else.

The advert isn't based in the UK, though... is it?

Do you have a professional agenda to push with this... or do you have an unresolved grievance with a VPN supplier, maybe?


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4 minutes ago, Mad153 said:

Please don't take mental health into this...

I know why I overthink things, when I do... only reason I mentioned it.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, Eighjan said:

The advert isn't based in the UK, though... is it?

Yes it isn't but my point is it's that bad. 

4 minutes ago, Eighjan said:

Do you have a professional agenda to push with this... or do you have an unresolved grievance with a VPN supplier, maybe?

I do not at all... I just wanted to bring it up in a discussion. Never claimed to be a professional. I don't use a VPN myself, because I am not, as Tom Scott says, a "gay pirate assassin"


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1 hour ago, Mad153 said:

I don't use a VPN myself, because I am not, as Tom Scott says, a "gay pirate assassin"

Not really a bigot then, is he...?


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I think you're reading WAAAAY to far into it

 

Graphic design is all about making something easy to visually identify to convey a message. I would say that most people know what gmail is, so it's easily identifiable to garner a basic understanding of how it works to most people,

 

They also included "adult" in the unencrypted part, they are not literally encrypting older humans, it's to show they obfuscate what you're searching for. 


Judge the product by it's own merits, not by the Company that created it.

 

 

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So I've read the OP like 3 times, and I've read the comments, and I don't get it. While I don't think PIA is the best VPN and I wouldn't be prone to recommend it (personally), I think you're going over the top. Just because you see the words "gmail." in the illustration, that in no way is conveying that PIA is saying "we encrypt all your emails and everything you send, etc". I didn't even notice the word gmail until I stared at it forever.

 

All they're conveying is that your data is encrypted (which it is, so your ISP, network owner, etc) can't see the sites your visiting, and that it disguises your IP, which it completely does...


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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 hours ago, Arika S said:

Graphic design is all about making something easy to visually identify to convey a message. I would say that most people know what gmail is, so it's easily identifiable to garner a basic understanding of how it works to most people,

I understand, however nearly every website where important details and sensitive data is stored has now gone HTTPS only or http default. Yahoo, outlook and even yandex mail all default to https, and enabling http is really difficult. 

 

I know that there are some websites out there that don't offer HTTPS at all, but most of them are for insensitive things, like idk cake recipes. And if they are concerning sensitive information, perhaps a VPN, where your traffic leaves the tunnel unencrypted to the wider internet where you can still get "spied" on, won't help at all.

 

My issue is that for the average person, who doesn't need to hide from their ISP (because most people don't) and for people who have left college or other forms of school or places that don't want you to use all of the internet(again, most people) would absolutely not benefit at all from buying a VPN, while ads such as these suggest they are mandatory for keeping your internet usage safe through images such as these, which infer that otherwise all of your internet browsing gets sent in plain text and this is simply false. 

 

Now sure, some will reply saying "but they don't actually mean Gmail",  or " they don't actually mean Google", but these companies are thriving off people who don't understand (because they have no reason to whatsoever)  by selling them lies and leaving their imagination to go off and think what other information they might be "leaking" . How on earth are they meant to know, from this ad, that actually their emails aren't affected, or their searching doesn't need more "protection"?

 

What these people really wanted to say is "buy our services or otherwise everything personal you know will be leaked", as some have done. But those companies had their ads banned etc. So instead they make these loose claims where advertising standards can't really ban them by using loose claims of risk and living  off those who aren't experts. This is what I refer to as "scummy" because it isn't necessarily illegal, but is horrible. 

 

And I know this is what happens as many of my friends have asked me (as one of the only people they know who knows a lot about tech) about their IP address being "exposed" and if they need a VPN to stay safe. In fact, I met one person who had already bought a VPN package because they thought that it would protect them, only for me to show them the Tom Scott video explaining they have been decieved. Ads such as these have no doubt created this fear and it's about time it stopped because it's basically false advertising wrapped up in a layer of legal protection.


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