McAfee Safe Connect VPN Review
McAfee collects the following information:
- Your IP address
- URL and domain names in your browsing history
- Purchase history, hobbies, interests, photos and bio data
- Device information, such as device battery level, location information, device type, and ISP
- Information about other devices connected to your network
McAfee retains this information indefinitely, and removes it only if the account is deleted. Until then, the data is still kept for 30 days.
McAfee also provides this information to other McAfee-owned companies, third-party advertisers, and “service providers that perform services for us.”
After we contacted McAfee, a representative actually confirmed that Safe Connect is subject to the same rules and standards as all other McAfee products.
McAfee claims that this information is needed to “help protect” users and “operate [McAfee’s] Business”.
This is just a lie. There is an abundance of VPN services that protect their users and run their businesses without engaging in such an intrusive collection of data.
Problematic US ownership
McAfee Safe Connect is owned by McAfee LLC, the giant cybersecurity company. McAfee LLC also owns TunnelBear VPN (see our review), which it acquired in 2018.
Like its parent company, McAfee Safe Connect is headquartered in the United States, within Silicon Valley. As such, McAfee’s jurisdiction couldn’t be much worse. The United States is an absolutely terrible location to set up a VPN service.
The United States is part of the Five-Eyes Intelligence Alliance, which means it shares surveillance data with the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Furthermore, McAfee is subject to intrusive US legal policies, such as the infamous PRISM monitoring program, which allows the US government to monitor online communications from US-based technology companies.
Even more worrisome, however, is the Stored Communications Act (SCA). This law gives the US government the ability to seize a VPN user’s information if that information is kept.
This relates specifically to Safe Connect, such as McAfee records just about everything.
In short, McAfee Safe Connect VPN is harmful to user privacy. To see the benefits of a reliable no-logs VPN, go to our review of Private Internet Access.