On Onavo usage policy page it talks about the app being able to collect information relayed from and to your device when you turn on the app. This is not just any other common information, it is information on your gadget, your position, apps on your device and how frequently you use those apps, the sites you visit, and amount of data you use.It further states that the data secured will be for evaluation and improve Facebook products and services, giving an understanding of product and services people value and moreover build better experiences.
Now that’s not what a VPN supposed to do. We all know a VPN should provide privacy to its users and protect users data and activity from being snooped on by ISP or any other website. Not gather information and data on users and use it for personal gain. However, Onavo Protect does the opposite of what a VPN should.
While there are no laws dictating how a VPN should work and its relations with its users, Onavo VPN may easily function as an efficient VPN as it offers network security and protects you from visiting potentially harmful or malicious sites. However, it goes against three important privacy policies most VPNs love to uphold:
1. It collects your data and data from other apps.
2. It tracks your activity and activity on other apps.
3. It is not safe. It doesn’t hide your activity either does it enhance your privacy.
What is Onavo and how does it work?
Onavo was an Isreal startup company established in 2010. It was subsequently purchased by the social media giant in 2013 for an undisclosed fee and as of now, Onavo Protect has seen over 50 million downloads on Android phones alone. Onavo Protect keeps a record of mobile modes of users and usage of rival apps. The official argument for mining data is that it utilizes it to enhance its services, a claim rejected by NordVPN and other IT security professionals.
Well, it cannot be verified whether this claim is accurate but the fact that Onavo VPN collects data usage on its user’s work online and of other apps is a concern for fear.
The app, thus, presents a significant privacy risk for users of Facebook and those who do not have Facebook installed on their devices regarding that Facebook is already collecting enough data on its users.
What does Facebook achieve with Onavo Protect?
According to a Wall Street Publication published last summer, Facebook acquired the VPN startup as a ‘corporate spyware’ with the primary objective of collecting data on Internet habits of users not using the Facebook app – talk about being a surveillance engine and obtaining direct insight into other companies activity. Being ready to register users actions on other apps means that Facebook is able to know whether you prefer Youtube videos or love watching Facebook videos. Or whether you prefer twitting, sexting on snapchat or Facebooking. These surveillance functions are enhanced every time you have Onavo protect on. By gathering such data, Onavo and Facebook primary purpose are to weed off competition before it even gets started.
What should you use then?
Industry experts and VPN service providers such as NordVPN all agree that Onavo is not a good choice for a VPN.
If you mainly hope to keep private and remain secure online- keep off Onavo Protect since it does not fulfill the main purpose of a VPN. You would be better off without a VPN than having Onavo protect, and if you must use a VPN, then try out TunnelBear or Private Internet Access and inform yourself.