back to article Smut site offers VPN so you don't bare all online

Faced with growing state enthusiasm to block its services, one of the world's most popular adult sites has created its own virtual private network (VPN). PornHub's VPNhub (this link is safe to follow) is just what it says on the box: a VPN app designed to protect user traffic, hide the Web server they're visiting, and spoof …

  1. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    "tell them you read it at El Reg"

    Well, at least we know how El Reg journos spend long weekends...

  2. Blockchain commentard

    Won't track you? Aren't Pornhub the people who are always releasing stats like what's popular at Christmas, halloween etc.? Even down to male/female preferences? Sounds like their tracking infrastructure is running at full steam.

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    How else are they going to tell you about hot single ladies in your area?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    "Won't track you? Aren't Pornhub the people who are always releasing stats like what's popular at Christmas, halloween etc.?"

    I could sit outside a shop, counting the number of people going in.

    That will tell me how many people visited the shop, not where they live, where they had visited before and afterwards and what they bought from Ikea three weeks ago.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Re: stats like what's popular at Christmas, halloween etc.

    That does not mean they're tracking you, they're just counting the pages you open - count that goes to a total that they can then play with. Once totalled, the data is effectively anonimyzed.

    It's ironic that the only industry that doesn't play fast and loose with our private data is the porn industry - in other words, it's the porn guys that are the cleanest of the lot.

  6. katrinab Silver badge

    They seem to struggle with the idea that people who watch the lesbian videos might be lesbians.

  7. David Given

    I never believed I'd even say this but... got any links? Because that sounds rather interesting, although possibly with image loading turned off. (I'm hoping they're going for a OkCupid statistical breakdown with actual words rather than an, ehem, in-your-face pictorial experience.)

  8. The Nazz Silver badge

    preferences

    re Wolfetone

    I've set my preferences for married ladies over 40 wanting extracurriculars.

    Sadly, the reason the majority of them are hot is the significant amount of insulation they carry.

  9. wayward4now
    Linux

    Re: stats like what's popular at Christmas, halloween etc.

    I upvoted your post and I wonder who noticed??

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So to stop people knowing you are using Pornhub you connect to a VPN on Pornhubs servers?

    I might go and get one of them mucky mags and ask the shopkeeper to put it in a bag. Though yes I can see the appeal for users of such sites to hide what they do once connected but doesn't https take care of that?

    I may be missing something here?

  11. DavCrav Silver badge

    "So to stop people knowing you are using Pornhub you connect to a VPN on Pornhubs servers?"

    Pornhub always knows you are using Pornhub's servers. Nowadays, the pornographer is one of the people I would trust most with this information, which is a bit of a damning indictment of today's society.

  12. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Nowadays, the pornographer

    Time to watch "The People vs Larry Flynt" again.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes agreed but what I mean is that your ISP will see you connect to a VPN on Prohub servers knowing you are going to Pornhub. If you use another VPN they don't.

    There's also the danger here that if this is used to get round the stupid age verification then it may be time for them to implement "think of the children!" legislation against personal VPN. Not something we want to see at all.

  14. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Plausible deniability = freedom of speech?

    You don't have to use it to look at porn. When Oppressive Government finds it on your computer, you look sheepish and say you were hiding your porn habit, and hope they don't notice the hidden volume with all the subversive material.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: subversive material

    I know what you mean, I have a large collection of patio chair pictures in various compromising poses. In fact I think I have the full set.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes agreed but what I mean is that your ISP will see you connect to a VPN on Prohub servers knowing you are going to Pornhub. If you use another VPN they don't.

    They won't know for certain what you're using VPNhub to access.

    From the FAQ:

    Will my ISP/mobile provider know what I do with VPNhub?

    All our data is encrypted, that mean that your ISP or anybody won’t be able to know what you are doing while using VPNhub.

    The alternative is to specifically request access to adult content via your ISP, which leaves little doubt about your intentions, should the "perv" list ever become public.

  17. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Coat

    Re: subversive material

    I have a large collection of patio chair pictures in various compromising poses. In fact I think I have the full set.

    I was looking for a Kama Sutra (Seatra?) pun to make for that, then I found these: https://en.egoparis.com/collection/kama-2/

    (SFW, in case you're wondering)

  18. DougS Silver badge

    public 'perv' list

    I suspect that if any major ISP's list was ever made public, it would be so long you wouldn't have to worry about any "moral" person (church leader, head of PTA, etc.) seeing you on it. They'd be busy worrying about you seeing them on it!

    If any ISP was collecting such a list, and then accidentally made it public, it would probably also be the straw that breaks the camel's back for getting proper privacy/tracking legislation in the US...

  19. Albert Hall

    Whoarrr!

    Those red ones... talk about stacked. Eh? Eh?

  20. DavCrav Silver badge

    "should the "perv" list ever become public."

    I'm with Virgin, which is owned by Liberty Global, turnover $20bn last year. I kind of want the perv list to be exposed, just so they can get a $400m fine under GDPR (and that breach would definitely qualify for the maximum penalty).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see porn every time I do an image search... for anything... on any search engine. It gets pretty hardcore as you scroll down.

    Is it like that for you Brits?

  22. The Nazz Silver badge

    Maybe so, but won't the ISP recognises one handed key strokes when they see it?

    For anyone that manages the key strokes, fnarr fnarr, with both hands, lucky bastard!

  23. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Coat

    Pervy McPervface

    The alternative is to specifically request access to adult content via your ISP, which leaves little doubt about your intentions, should the "perv" list ever become public.

    If usage data published concerning porn sites is anything to go by, then the list of people who don't partake is much smaller than those who do.

    Not saying what's in the pocket... just saying.

  24. Milton Silver badge

    Oh the b100dy irony

    Oh the b100dy irony ... that pornographers are doing more to resist invasions of privacy, and securing their viewers' rights as adults to read/view/hear what the heck they like, than the noble, pompous, self-righteous titans of the internet like Facebook and Google, who daily lie through their teeth to keep the addicts clicking away?

    If you got a better service and more reliable product from your drug dealer than when buying alcohol legally in the supermarket, the parallels would be 100% complete.

    We live in an increasingly crazy, sick world, and since neither politicians nor the corporations who own them have any incentive to rescue the internet-using punters, it's high time for adults to wake up and take some responsibility for themselves. Just as an alcoholic sooner or later reaches that point where they "stand at the edge of the abyss" and must decide, deeply and personally, to step back (or not), so it is for social media addicts: no one else will help you.

  25. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Re: Oh the b100dy irony

    Maybe we should rename it to "Virtual Porn Network" in honour of their stiff opposition to hard laws violating our privates?

  26. LDS Silver badge

    Re: Oh the b100dy irony

    Yes, because that's the only privacy many people care about... how many politicians - and not only politcians, hard supporters of the "moral values", the "true family", etc. etc. are caught looking at the worst porn?

    Still, it's just money - those people know in their business privacy is money, unlike FB, Google & C. where the lack of privacy is money. So really, nothing different - both businesses are still built on fully exploiting people and selling them.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Oh the b100dy irony

    > If you got a better service and more reliable product from your drug dealer than when buying alcohol legally in the supermarket, the parallels would be 100% complete.

    My drug dealer always provides better service than the supermarket. I call him and he comes round within an hour, don't get that from Tesco, et al.

  28. Jedit
    Trollface

    Save yourself embarrassment!

    "Please tell the court what site were you browsing for this adult material on."

    "PORNHUB, your honour!"

    "And where did you first hear about this ... porn hub?"

    "thereg"

    "Pardon?"

  29. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Re: Save yourself embarrassment!

    Well this is a leading lesbian on-line site, apparently:

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/06/indy_reg/

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Dangermouse 1

    Re: Save yourself embarrassment!

    You're not allowed to divulge what goes on in the jury room, what happens in open court is surely a matter of public record.

  32. The Nazz Silver badge

    Re: Save yourself embarrassment!

    Save yourself embarrassment!

    "Please tell the court what site were you browsing for this adult material on."

    "PORNHUB, your honour!"

    "And where did you first hear about this ... porn hub?"

    "thereg"

    "Pardon?"

    Or alternatively :

    Save yourself embarrassment!

    "Please tell the court what site were you browsing for this adult material on."

    "PORNHUB, your honour!"

    "Oh, i've never heard of that, is it better than Xhamster then.?"

  33. Herring`

    How much will they charge for a paid account? I have an EC2 VM for research purposes which I installed OpenVPN on. I'll let people use that for £1 a month. No logging.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "No logging"

    Yeah... and how about that cloud provider you're hosting on ?

    What's that old saying in IT Security ? "Phsyical access = game over".

    Not your server, not your hypervisor, not your network, not your control.

    You might not log, but you can bet your bottom dollar that at the very least they'll be doing NetFlow, if not deeper level monitoring. They'll know exactly where your traffic is coming from and where it's going to.

  35. Herring`

    Oh, I agree that if you want super-secure privacy then it's not the way to go. If I were masterminding a hacker/terrorist conspiracy then I'd want something a bit more secure. But for pretending you're in the US in order to view stuff, it's fine. And it's not the principle reason for having it anyway.

  36. msknight Silver badge

    So...

    The company that the government are going to be paying (presumably) or directing payment to, in order to run the age checking system, to ensure that only over age people view porn, is just about to launch a product that lets people appear like they're in a different country, in order to view porn elsewhere, without needing the check.

    Who'se government is in charge of this shit show again?

  37. GreggS

    Your bank will know

    If you decide to use the "premium" paid for offering that is. Which of course also means the government will know via the Inland Revenue (and if you bank with RBS as it's still 71% government owned).

  38. Lyndon Hills 1

    Re: Your bank will know

    If you decide to use the "premium" paid for offering that is. Which of course also means the government will know via the Inland Revenue (and if you bank with RBS as it's still 71% government owned).

    And if you bank with TSB, a lot of their other customers....

  39. IneptAdept

    Re: Your bank will know

    Nope you can use mobile payments and then it just shows as GooglePlay / AppStore - receiptId

    This is a tech site, I would of thought being a reader you would of been aware of that.... or you know RTFA because it states it in there as well

  40. DougS Silver badge
    Facepalm

    What kind of idiot would pay for porn?

    There's more free stuff created every day than one could "use" in a lifetime!

  41. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The free version is supposedly sponsored by ads but i installed it to test if it would allow me to access geo-locked US websites and not been shown any ads yet. It did work with some sites that are blocked from outside the US but some still came up saying 'this content is not available outside the US' which suggests they use other techniques to identify your location other than your IP.

    It seems reasonably quick as well, no noticeable speed difference in general surfing over my standard ADSL2 connection. I did try to see if you could get around having to buy premium for the desktop version by trying to create a wireless hotspot on my phone while the VPN app was connected and then connecting to that from my PC, but that didn't work as although the phones browser went through the VPN the desktop session via the hotspot bypassed it and connected directly. Maybe spoofing the browser or using a proxy server app on the phone could allow you to do it but haven't tried that.

  42. <spez>

    Check your routers dns setup, need to use a generic one and not your ISP.

    ...... apparently.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is a cheap money grab for the premium version, it is almost impossible not to sign up for the premium by mistake when you install the free version.

    Desktop versions for Mac & Pc are not available for free trial.

    It didn't connect anywhere in the country I tried it..

    PoS and NOT FREE at all

  44. Paul

    in some countries it's illegal to use a VPN service with severe criminal penalties. It can also be illegal to use VOIP services, including Skype.

    Be sure to check before visiting countries in the middle east, but really, check for any country you intend to visit for any specific laws on internet use, whether you'd consider the use normal (vpn to work, cloud services, instant messaging and VOIP) as well as ahem personal (pr0n, movies, chat, social media).

  45. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Ummm...... Isn't TOR used for this anymore?

    See title.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Ummm...... Isn't TOR used for this anymore?

    Tor is, indeed, useful to access otherwise "blocked" sites, but with porn... well, tor is slow. So if you want slow-motion (buffering) porn, this perversion is just for you. For all others, who prefer fast action in HD... no. ;)

  47. Mark 85 Silver badge

    "and the company's media release promises not to log user activity"

    So it doesn't add to your profile what vids you posted or looked at? Who your friends are? Or is it that it doesn't track/log the computer's IP addy? .

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Logging you say?

    Unfortunately, the Facebook Graph API is bundled with the majority of Android apps I've seen.

    Any app that has the "GET_ACCOUNTS" permission is suspect.

  49. Fungus Bob Silver badge
    Linux

    "the mobile version of VPNhub is free, but if you want to browse on a Mac or Windows desktop you'll need a premium app store subscription"

    Aaaaand, the Linux users are fscked...

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > Aaaaand, the Linux users are unfscked...

    FTFY. Install a proprietary app to protect my privacy? I don't think so.

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