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Wangle: Australia's first ACMA-compliant VPN

by Stephen Withers on 20 April 2017

Wangle Technologies has launched what it says is Australia's "fastest, most secure (and) cheapest mobile VPN." Yet, it complies with metadata retention requirements.

Like most VPNs, Wangle VPN provides a way of securing your communications, especially when using Wi-Fi. Using Rackspace and AWS, the company has set up points of presence in the US, UK, central Europe, Singapore, Japan, India and South America.

The service is initially available for Android and iOS only. Managing director and chief executive Sean Smith told iTWire, "As a start-up we had to look at utilising the biggest and most accessible markets to us, whilst being mindful of our resource constraints. iOS and Android are the two dominant players, so we went with them. We may look at other platforms in the future."

That would be welcome, as Wi-Fi traffic from MacBooks and Windows notebooks and tablets also benefits from the protection given by a VPN.

“Wangle Technologies is offering a product that keeps customers safe from all online intrusions no matter where they are in the world when using their mobile devices,” Smith said.

“We’ve had Wangle VPN independently tested and in all the benchmarks regarding speed, data compression and security, have come out as the current market leader for products of this type.”

Earlier this year, researchers from CSIRO's Data61 and other institutions published a study showing many VPN services are insecure or are bundled with malware.

Wangle VPN also uses "unique compression technology" to minimise data use.

Wangle VPN claims to be Australia’s only ACMA-compliant VPN. What this means is that it complies with the government's metadata retention requirements. iTWire asked Smith whether that might make the service less attractive to potential users.

"Yes, for some it will turn them away, especially people using VPNs for questionable activity. But, as the CSIRO has recently shown, most competitor VPNs are rife with security holes and/or adware and spyware, so what you gain from hiding your identity, you may well lose via data loss or data for sale," he said.

"What the ACMA compliance has done is made us build a very robust product with strict security protocols. Yes, if government agencies want access to metadata in the investigation of crime, we can supply it once it goes through the required legal processes. But for most users that won't be an issue. What will be an issue for all users, however, is mobile/Wi-Ffi security, and a good mobile Web experience, and that's where we'll concentrate our efforts.

"On a final note, the office of the CAC has advised us that any carrier (including VPNs from overseas) that carries voice or data in Australia will be subject to the legislation. How they will administer that is unknown, but we'll certainly be keeping a close eye on that."

Smith added: “We will continue to work to make the app even better and add more features in the future that will enhance the user experience."

Wangle VPN costs $4.99 a month. A 30-day free trial is available.