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Security Workplace

5 VPNs for Nonprofit Organizations and Activists

For many people, VPNs (virtual private networks) are just about gaining access to things like blocked movies. However, VPNs also combat censorship. In many places, authoritarian governments block social media platforms and information sources. VPNs get around this restriction and provide anonymous access. This anonymity is essential for many nonprofits and activists.

How to choose the right VPN

We’ll recommend five good VPNs, but it’s important to know how to choose the right VPN. There are a handful of things to consider:

Where the VPN is based

Where is the VPN provider’s headquarters? The location affects what data privacy laws the VPN must adhere to. Once you choose one, keep tabs on that area as laws can change.

Claims made by the VPN provider

What is the provider saying they’ll do or won’t do? Examine the provider’s privacy policy closely to learn how your data is used. Always verify any claims made by the VPN before deciding they’re a good fit.

Whether the provider collects your data

When looking at the privacy policy, see if the VPN collects your data. It’s also important to know that if the VPN does collect data, the government can demand to access it. This is where claims come into play again; if a VPN claims to not collect data, but it’s gotten caught for lying, you’ll want to know.

How they make money

Not all VPNs sell user data, so if they aren’t doing that, what are they doing to make money? Some will offer you access for free, but after you rack up a certain amount of data, you’ll start being charged. Knowing how the provider makes money and what’s expected of you informs your decision.

The VPN’s reputation with experts

If a VPN has a bad reputation with security professionals, you’ll want to avoid it. You can find information on what experts think using a web search.

The VPN’s encryption

Encryption is vital. If the VPN uses broken or weak encryption, your data can be easily viewed by others, including the government. Be sure to research how strong the encryption of your potential VPN is and what experts are saying.

The use of VPNs can increase your security but can also decrease it under certain circumstances. Before you use a VPN consider taking Amnesty International’s course on Digital Security and Human Rights.

VPNs for nonprofits and activists

Here are five VPNs we recommend for nonprofits and activists:

NordVPN

Features include next-generation encryption, fast speeds, worldwide access, double-protection, a Kill Switch (which protects devices from making unprotected connections), and much more. NordVPN is also a founding member of the VPN Trust Initiative, which educates the public about cybersecurity and sets quality standards for the VPN industry. There’s a monthly plan, a 1-year plan, and a 2-year plan, which offers the best deal. NordVPN offers eligible organizations a discount on their service. That includes journalists, educational institutions, human rights advocates, and other nonprofits. NordVPN supports organizations like Amnesty International, the Cybercrime Support Network, RightsCon, and others.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers a variety of VPN apps for top devices, browsers, smart TV systems, and game consoles. Each app comes with features like 256-bit encryption, unlimited bandwidth, a Network Lock kill switch, no activity or connection logs, and TrustedServer technology. With one subscription, you can use the VPN on up to five supported devices. If you need more, you should get the ExpressVPN app for routers. In addition to routers, ExpressVPN is currently supported by Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. There are three available plans: monthly, biannually, and annual.

PureVPN

PureVPN operates over 6,500 servers in 140+ countries. Features include IPv6 leak protection (which can run end-to-end encryption), split tunneling, router configuration, a fail-safe internet kill switch, 256-bit encryption, and more. Products are available for systems like Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Chrome and Firefox extensions, and Android. There’s a monthly plan, 1-year plan, and 2-year plan, which is the most recommended. If you’re new to VPNs, reviews suggest that PureVPN is a good choice.

Ivacy VPN

Ivacy has a network spanning more than 3,500 servers in 100+ locations. It has all the features you’d need. There’s 256-bit encryption, an internet kill switch, dedicated IP, split tunneling, and more. Advanced security features include IPv6 leak protection, DDoS protection, and secure downloading. You can access the VPN on up to 10 devices at the same time. It supports every major platform, such as iOS, Android, routers, and Windows. It also supports Raspberry Pi, Kodi, PS4, and Xbox. Like the other VPNs on this list, Ivacy does not log or track your data.

TorGuard

TorGuard offers VPN apps for platforms like iOS, Android, routers, Windows, Mac, and Linux. It has a network of 3,000 VPN servers in 50+ countries. Features include 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, leak blocking, unlimited bandwidth, Stealth VPN protocols, and more. Apps are also available for Chrome and Firefox. Servers feature 1GBps or 10Gbpbs port speeds. TorGuard commits to not collecting or logging your data. For encrypted webmail services – TorGuard works well.

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.