Mullvad VPN maker says police tried to raid its offices but couldn’t find any user data
Mullvad, the Swedish company behind Mullvad VPN (virtual private network), says police walked away with nothing after attempting to seize computers from its office. According to an update on Mullvad’s site, the authorities left and didn’t take anything after it informed them that the company doesn’t store customer data.
“We argued they had no reason to expect to find what they were looking for and any seizures would therefore be illegal under Swedish law,” Mullvad writes. “After demonstrating that this is indeed how our service works and them consulting the prosecutor they left without taking anything and without any customer information.”
A VPN is a service that lets you securely browse the internet using an encrypted connection to a private server. It hides identifying information, such as your IP address, from third parties, making it possible to access geo-blocked websites or get a more private browsing experience. Unlike many other VPN services, Mullvad doesn’t require an email address to sign up and instead generates a random account number for all users.
Mullvad says this is the first time in its 14 years of operating a VPN that police have issued a search warrant, and company CEO Jan Jonsson tells The Verge he doesn’t “know exactly what they were looking for.” Even if the authorities had seized its servers, Jonsson says that police wouldn’t have found anything due to its strict policies against keeping data. The Verge reached out to Swedish authorities with a request for more information but didn’t immediately hear back.
“We find it peculiar that the National Operations Department (NOA) of the Swedish Police make this search warrant visit now, for the first time in our 14-year history,” Jonsson tells The Verge. “They should know by now how our service works. Our business is all about the fight against data retention and we never store any activity logs of any kind.”