After ExpressVPN CIO Named in UAE Surveillance Scandal; Edward Snowden Says Stop Using It

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Former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who had warned people in July this year against government agencies using military-grade spyware to keep a tab on them, has now urged them to not use the services of ExpressVPN. “If you’re an ExpressVPN customer, you shouldn’t be,” he tweeted. Snowden also shared a tweet by Joseph Menn, an investigative reporter on cyber security, that talked about the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of ExpressVPN being one of the three past US intelligence operatives who have agreed to not fight charges that they helped the UAE hack people.

ExpressVPN did not respond to Snowden, but said in a statement that they knew “the key facts” relating to their CIO Daniel Gericke’s employment history. “In fact, it was his history and expertise that made him an invaluable hire for our mission to protect users’ privacy and security,” the company said.

A virtual private network (VPN) imitates a private network over a public one. It gives users online privacy by masking their internet protocol (IP) address so that their online actions are virtually untraceable. It also protects against eavesdropping while sending emails, shopping online, or paying bills.

Earlier this week, the US Justice Department revealed in court records that ExpressVPN’s Gericke and two others worked on Project Raven, a surveillance operation for the UAE government that involved hacking of high-profile people and heads of states. ExpressVPN is one of the world’s largest providers of VPN services.

In a blogpost in July, Snowden had warned how smartphones have become the “most dangerous” items we possess. He had also tweeted about the Pegasus software scandal on how a software developed by Israeli startup NSO Group was helping government agencies around the world in spying on citizens’ cell phones.

Snowden revealed secret documents in 2013 that provided a public window into the US intelligence agency NSA and its international partners’ secret mass surveillance capabilities.


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