Timeline of threats against Privacy

We list few major challanges VPNs help us fight

It has been and continues to be a rough ride to enforce our human right of privacy in the Internet space. Government after government all around the world sacrifice people's privacy in order to pass their own agendas which more often than not they try to convince us is for our own good.

The end result being that our internet activity, habits, finances, social life, private calls and emails are all being served on a platter to the spy agencies and big corporations. While many noble organisations like EFF are fighting the privacy battle between David and Goliath, until that battle is won, we use VPN services as the most useful shield against this violation of our rights.

On this page we list which are the main events around the globe that threaten our privacy and at the bottom of the page you can also find our list of Best VPNs for Privacy.


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Timeline of Privacy News and Events

January 2019

Anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp states it has a database of around a billion copyright infringements and that is ready to use it to identify repeat infringers or to hold Internet providers accountable if needed. The statement is a response to a crucial court decision last week.

A Danish national has been convicted and received a six-month probation sentence and a forfeiture of $83,300 for publishing information about Popcorn Time on popcorntime.dk. More importantly that sets a precedent for future actions of the sort.

Over 1,000 lawsuits were filed BitTorrent pirates in the USA in 2017. Even though that amount is impressive, a barrage of new law suits from January 2019 suggests that even more claims will be filed this year (2019).

MPA meets with the head of Russia's telecoms watchdog in Moscow to discuss file sharing and piracy in Russia.

Various Dates

In Germany, file sharing is illegal and even one copyrighted file downloaded through BitTorrent can trigger €1000 fines or more. In April 2008, the Bundestag (German parliament) approved a new law requiring ISPs to divulge the identity of suspected infringers.

One of Sweden's key internet service providers (ISP's), Bahnhof, has been ordered to provide the names of customers using its services to download pirated content.

French anti-piracy agency Hadopi reveals that since its inception, nine million piracy warnings have been sent to citizens. Since then more than 2,000 cases have been referred to prosecutors, resulting in 189 criminal convictions.

According to IPAustralia.gov.au (govenrment agency), people in Australia caught caught in piracy can face fines of up to A$117,000 (£72,000) - up to five times more for companies - and could also receive a prison sentence.

‘Pirate’ Kodi Addon Devs & Distributors receive a Seize and Desist order by the powerful "The Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment alliance"

The Market Court in Finland has ordered local Internet Providers to pass the personal details of over 200,000 Internet users, to copyright trolls so that they can pursue them for cash settlements.

January 2019

Section 702 of FISA surveillance law has been renewed in the US even though president Trump promised to fight tagainst it during campaigning. In a nut shell FISA allows spying on foreigners and people outside of USA without a warrent, although it also allows NSA to collect information from companies like Google and Mircosoft, so US citizens will have to trust their "good" record of honoring the law and hope they won't spy on Americans too.

January 2019

A trove of classified documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shed light that the NSA has built a technology to automatically identify the speakers from voice data. In a world of "OK Google", "Siri" and "Alexa" this can have far reaching consequences.

December 2017

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted three to two to restore an Obama-administration law that "protects net neutrality". The change will enable internet service providers (ISPs) to speed up or slow down different companies' data, and charge consumers according to the services they access. Needless to say that is a huge blow to Internet privacy and Net neutrality. The only viable solution for internet users in USA is to use a VPN service to esacpe the ISPs dubious deisions about net neutrality.

French anti-piracy agency Hadopi has just released its latest results reveals that since its inception, nine million piracy warnings have been sent to citizens. Since the launch of the graduated response regime in 2010, more than 2,000 cases have been referred to prosecutors, resulting in 189 criminal convictions.

January 2017

The legality of British intelligence services’ GCHQ, Mi5, Mi6 mass surveillance programs will be assessed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The agencies are accused of breaching the European Convention’s fundamental right to privacy.


The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation by the European Union is announced to come into effect in May 2019, which will force companies to disclose what they're collecting our data for and will limit the scope of what they can use the data for. Furthermore if data has already been collected of users, users will now have to be asked for their permission again and they will also have to be given the option for their data to be deleted. The UK passes its own GDPR version which some see as descriminatory.

June 2017

Japan proposes an anti-conspiracy bill which Snowden says is "is the beginning of a new wave of mass surveillance in Japan.”

January 2016

UK passes the controversial "Snooper’s Charter" which increases mandatory data retention to 12 months and web histories of the UK residents are now available to many UK government agencies.
Perhaps more disturbing is that Section 217 of the Investigatory Powers Act forces UK tech firms to implement encryption backdoors in their software, rendering all apps/software originating from UK insecure, since it won't be a precedent if a hacker got wind of a govenrment's introduced backdoor.

China passes the PRC Cybersecurity Law and it now forces mandatory data retention from Internet providers for 6 months.

October 2016

On October 30, the French government announced, rather inconspiciously, the creation of a massive new database that will collect and store personal information and biometric data on nearly everyone residing in the country. The database called Secure Electronic Documents (Titres électroniques sécurisés or TES) will store an individual’s name, date and place of birth, gender, eye color, height, address, photograph, digitized fingerprints, facial features, e-mail address, and the names, nationalities, dates and places of birth of parents.

July 2016

Russian govenrment signs a multitude of laws which among all else prohibit any anti-government feelings incitement online under threat of imprisonment and broad ability to force data-retention.

June 2016

In a bizzare turn Ethiopia passes a law that outlaws Pornography among other online activities. The law bears a punishment of up to 10 years. Many see the law as a way to fight opposition to the ruling government. The law also increases data retention to 1 year so ISPs and tech companies must now keep your data for up to 365 days.

June 2016

In a bizzare turn Estonia passes a law that outlaws Pornography among other online activities. The law bears a punishment of up to 10 years. Many see the law as a way to fight opposition to the ruling government. The law also increases data retention to 1 year so ISPs and tech companies must now keep your data for up to 365 days.

April 2016

Turkey passes a controversial law that allows the polie and intelligence agencies unchecked access to their citizen's data, including sexual orientation, biometric data, ethnicity and so on if they deem it to be of "national security" interest.

January 2016

Poland passes a law that now allows police and intelligence agency access to people's communications and online data without a warrent. The law goes further by allowing the secret surveillence of people for up to 18 months which has even more far reaching consequences.

January 2016

China adopts a law that forces Tech companies to actively help China decrypt customers data to fight anti-terrorism.
The new German data retention law comes into effect, forcing Internet Providers and tech companies to keep history of user's web browsing, meta data and sms messages for 10 weeks.

September 2015

Snowden gices journalists at The Intercept documents indicating GCHQ's "Karma Police" program which was aiming to create profile of every internet user's browsing habbits. By 2009 it had stored more than 1.1 trillion browsing sessions and by 2012 it was storing 50 billion sessions per day.

January 2015

The Intercept, based on data provided by Snowden reports that GCHQ and NSA has stolen the encryption keys of the world's largest SIM card manufactorer, allowing them to eavesrop on calls directly without assistance from mobile companies.

April/May 2014

Edward Snowden says that surveillance agencies in the USA spy more on Americans than on any other citizens and countries in the world regardless of what the government says up to date.
The New York Times publishes an article that claims the NSA uses the global intelligence treasure trove of images it has collected from emails, conference calls and social media in a facial recognition database.
The Washington Post releases a cache of emails and their content provided by Edward Snowden that shows that 9 out of 10 emails were not related to any intelligence target.

January 2014

The NSA has targeted Chinese technology company Huawei which provides large parts of internet users with routers and also installs fiber optic cables.
Another program of the NSA codenamed TURBINE is exposed, which controls and infects automatically large groups of devices, with the ability to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone, take snapshots from webcams retrieve data from connected flash drives and hard drives among many others.

January 2014

In 2014, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was introduced in the US House, and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) was introduced in the Senate. Both CISPA and CISA bills result in a lot of privacy invasion that will make it easier for companies to share user data with government agenies and private companies.

The GCHQ with help from the NSA has captured and stored webcam of millions of internet users with program code named Optic Nerve.

January 2014

The NSA is developing a powerful quantum computer capable of cracking all types of encryption.

Squeaky Dolphin surveillance program by GCHQ that started in 2012 enables the agency to conduct broad real time monitoring of social media features and traffic.

The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has demonstrated its ability to track visitors of a major canadian airport who have used the public WiFi and then exited the airport and continued using internet from other entry points. The operation was carried on behalf ot the NSA and the technology was then shared with Australia New Zealand UK and USA.

October 2013

The Guardian and The Washington Post reveal NSA and GCHQ had been trying hard to spyon the anonymous Tor network and have managed to uncover the identity of some users.

NSA had spied on French and Spanish citizens with help of the intelligence agencies in the country.

September 2013

The court hears arguments by Verizon that challenge the Net Neutrality rules that prevent ISPs from deciding what users should use Internet for and from blocking particular services to users for economic reasons.

The Guardian and The New York Times report on confidential documents that the NSA has been working hard to weaken the encryption in commercial software and that GCHQ has dedicated teams trying to crack Google, Hotmail, Yahoo and Facebook traffic that they've collected as part of it's mass surveillence program.

Germany's BfV security agency has been transferring ersonal data of German residents to the NSA, CIA and seven other members of the USIC in exchange for spying software and information. French intelligence agencies have also transferred millions of metadata records to NSA.
Special branch of the NSA collects and stores vast amounts of financial transactions in its databank "Tracfin", both domestically and internationally.
The NSA uses the analysis of call e-mail of US citizens to create elaborate graphs of their social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at specific times, their traveling companions and other personal information.

August 2013

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden and were witnessed by Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and Norddeutscher Rundfunk reveal that GCHQ practically has access to surveil all or nearly all internet traffic flowing through Europe. With the help of the following companies (which claim they were forced to help) GCHQ managed to secure agrasp on nearly all of EU people and businesses comminication:
Verizon Business (codenamed "Dacron") British Telecommunications (codenamed "Remedy")
Vodafone Cable (codenamed "Gerontic")
Global Crossing (codenamed "Pinnage")
Level 3 (codenamed "Little")
Viatel (codenamed "Vitreous")
Interoute (codenamed "Streetcar")

It also becomes evident that "The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)" in partnership with UK, USA and Singaporean intelligence agencies tap undersea fibre optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, the Middle East and Europe and carry much of Australia's international phone and internet data.

July 2013

Even though the NSA actively targeted Germany with its suverillence programs it is revealed that they're in deep cooperation together and the BND (the german intelligence equivalent of the NSA) has been sharing millions of pieces of data and meta data with the NSA every day. In a disturbing internal memo the NSA praises the BND's efforts to undermine privacy laws: The BND has been working to influence the German government to relax interpretation of the privacy laws to provide greater opportunities of intelligence sharing".

As part of its UPSTREAM data collection program, the USA forged agreements with various companies to make sureit had access to and therefor the ability to surveil undersea fiber-optic cables that handle the delivery of e-mails, Web pages, other online communications and phone calls from one continent to another at the flick of a light.

June 2013

In May 2013 Edward Snowden leaves his position at the NSA under pretext of undergoing treatment for epilepsy and flys to HongKong. In June The Guardian and Washington Post reveal the existence of PRISM surveillance program - that collects the e-mails, voice data, text and video chats of foreigners and undisclosed number of Americans from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Apple and other tech giant corporations. It is revealed NSA also spied on various European Union diplomatic missions, Chinese mobile companiesand Asian fiber optic provider Pacnet.

It is also revealed that GCHQ (a british intelligence division) has been sniffing and storing massive amounts of data from Tempora, a fiber-optic carrier. This data was then shared with NSA by GCHQ. Accoridng to Boundless Informant 97 billion pieces of intelligence data were gathered over a 30-day span ending in January 2013.