We are glad to introduce an interview with one of the founders of ZenMate (Germany) which has already obtained the popularity among VPN users all over the world. ZenMate is striving to contribute to the privacy and security of using the network. Having gained the customers’ credibility, they don’t stop reforming the service to propose them more and more opportunities to be protected on the web. In the interview you will find out about the pros they have, the most valuable outcomes they have achieved, what new technologies will be introduced and more currently central ideas.
‑ Simon! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about ZenMate?
‑ ZenMate was founded by myself and my friend Markus back in 2013. I had just come back from travelling around the world, during which time I had grown frustrated at how difficult it was to access my favourite websites from home, also without having to worry about the security of my WiFi connection. From this experience the idea of developing an easy-to-use VPN service was born. The simplicity of our browser extension meant that ZenMate gained 100,000 users within the first two weeks of launching, earning us a certain level of public attention. By the end of 2014 we had around 7.5 million users and last month we were really proud to announce the incredible figure of 40 million users from over 180 countries across the world.
‘’I had just come back from travelling around the world...
... I had grown frustrated at how difficult it was to access my favourite websites from home...
... the idea of developing an easy-to-use VPN service was born.’’
‑ Is the phrase “internet freedom” still relevant these days? How has it changed since ZenMate started?
‑ When talking about internet freedom I think it is important to differentiate between two different factors: firstly, the freedom to access information and secondly, the freedom to stay private and autonomous online. Either way I think the phrase ‘internet freedom’ is more relevant today than ever. If you look at current political events you can see that there is a general movement towards governments placing restrictions on the Internet both through censorship and also through mass surveillance schemes. Furthermore, these restrictions are no longer happening only in unstable or developing countries but also in Western democracies, most notably the US and the UK.
A VPN is the best solution to tackle both problems. On the one hand, it gives people privacy and security while accessing the web, on the other, it allows people living in highly censored countries to change their virtual location and therefore experience the Internet unrestricted by local boundaries.
‑ We know ZenMate is located in Berlin, the capital of Germany. Does this give you an advantage over other VPN providers?
‑ Yes, it does - Germany is known for having some of the best internet privacy and security laws in the world. Therefore, as a German company we are bound by strict data privacy laws which mean we wouldn’t be able to sell your information, even if we wanted to. We do not track our users’ behaviour online and keep no logs of their data. In many VPN companies, it is not clear who is behind the service, at ZenMate we operate in a transparent way so our users can be assured they have chosen the most trustworthy service on the market.
‘’ ...We do not track our users’ behaviour online ...
...keep no logs of their data....
our users can be assured they have chosen the most trustworthy’’
‑ What are the most significant achievements of your VPN service? What are you most proud of?
‑ We were the inventors of the VPN browser extension, meaning we were the first company to take the complex VPN solution and create a simple, lightweight browser extension that is easy to use and accessible for the mass market. As a result, we have millions of active users, who trust us and use us on a daily basis in order to access the internet in an unrestricted and safe way. With ZenMate it is our mission to make the somewhat exclusive world of internet security and privacy more accessible to the everyday internet user. This is something I believe we are achieving and is something I am very proud of.
‘’...We were the first ... to take the complex VPN solution...
we have millions of active users... it is our our mission to make...
internet security and privacy more accessible. ‘’
‑ What is unique about ZenMate?
- Apart from the simplicity of our technology and the high level of brand trust, we have also recently spent time developing highly specialised and proprietary unblocking technology. In short, this means that our VPN is very hard for governments or others to detect and block, making us much more resilient and reliable than most other VPN providers. This is especially important for people living in countries where censorship is a big issue.
‑ Why should customers choose ZenMate instead of your competitors?
- First and foremost, it’s very important that you should be able to trust the company and the people behind your VPN service. As already mentioned, ZenMate keeps no logs of our users’ data and is very transparent in the way we finance our operations. Secondly, ZenMate is definitely the easiest to use VPN out there - to set-up our VPN requires no configuration and once downloaded it can be activated in only one click. Finally, our proprietary unblocking technology means ZenMate is the most reliable VPN for people who live in or often travel to censored countries.
‘’ ...ZenMate is definitely the easiest to use VPN...’’
‑ In your opinion, which countries are doing the most to protect users online?
- Germany is usually cited as one of the top countries when it comes to internet freedom and privacy. Germans as a whole take privacy very seriously and you can definitely see this reflected in our laws compared to other European countries such as the UK. Iceland, Estonia and Canada also tend to do a good job in this area.
‑ Which innovations/new technologies do you expect to be introduced in the VPN sphere in the future?
‑ Consumer VPN technologies will likely move into the direction of personalised consumer gateway solutions that act as a gatekeeper between people in the web. This means that VPNs won’t only offer online privacy and security but they will also shield away online threats such as malware before they even hit the device.
‘’...VPNs won’t only offer online privacy and security.... they will also shield away online threats...’’
‑ Do you personally use a VPN account? What for?
‑ I do, on a daily basis. I usually have my VPN activated every time I access the Internet since it encrypts my traffic and you can never be too careful - I would never use public WiFi without connecting to my VPN first, for example. Since I travel a lot, I often use my VPN to watch the German news or football games when I am in another country where my favourite streaming sites are not available.
‘’...I often use my VPN to watch the German news or football games when I am in another country...’’
‑ Is there any advice you’d like to give ZenMate users?
‑ My number one piece of advice would be to make sure your VPN is always enabled. A lot of people use ZenMate in order to access websites that are blocked to them but it is important that these people also educate themselves about the security and privacy benefits of using a VPN. As I have said above, you should never access public WiFi without using your VPN since it is easy for someone to steal your personal information - such as passwords and credit card details - when you are connected to an unsecured network. Also since government surveillance schemes are becoming more intense, using a VPN for privacy is more important than ever.
‘’..My number one piece of advice would be to make sure your VPN is always enabled...’’
ZenMate is surely a great and resilient that servers for its customers’ needs and highly devoted to the deal. It is the company you can rely on with confidence, which is proved by constant increasing of their satisfied users. A creative team of people dedicated to their ideas adapt the app for the easiest running.