Is it obligatory for a VPN service provider with servers in the United States to disclose a user's personal information (such as IP address and logs) in response to a request that came from another country? For example, for a legal investigation or similar reason.

  • There are over 200 countries in the world, and they have differing approaches to this sort of thing - your question is a jurisdictional nightmare.
    – user28517
    Dec 27, 2020 at 9:40
  • By "different approach" you mean (hypothetically): some pay for information and VPN service provider gladly gives it to them, some are in good affairs with the US so legal request will suffice? Dec 27, 2020 at 9:49
  • 1
    Its significantly more complicated than that, hence it being a jurisdictional nightmare - some countries honour a foreign judicial request through treaties, some require a local court order, some wont respond at all.
    – user28517
    Dec 27, 2020 at 9:51

2 Answers 2


The title and the contents of your question are totally different. The title is "will they disclose my information", which is likely the most relevant thing for you. The contents is "are they obliged to disclose my information".

What actually will happen: The company will ask itself three questions: 1. Will we be in trouble if we provide this information? 2. Will we be in trouble if we don't provide this information? 3. Do we want to protect the customer in this situation? In a case where I was slightly involved, question (1) was answered with "no, no trouble for us", question (3) was answered with "absolutely not, we don't protect people making prank calls to emergency services", and therefore question (2) was never looked at.

So if your US ISP receives a letter say from German police that certain logging information is likely to help them solve a murder case, that ISP will ask themselves the same questions.

  • 2. Will they actually? I mean, it's not a request from say the FBI... In that case, they would respond for certain, because if they hadn't they would have been more likely to suffer the consequences and risks that could have been avoided (obviously, government agencies of the country they're in have the power over them). But what do they suffer if they don't provide this information abroad? Especially if the country asking is not in good relationships with the United States? Feb 14, 2021 at 9:13

No. A VPN provider will be liable under the laws of the country it is in. Because countries are sovereign other countries can't enforce their laws.

What can happen is that other countries can put pressure on your country to require cooperation between you and your country and your country and them - depending in the laws and relationships between the countries. Powerful countries like the USA can very powerfully convince other countries to help them. (Its not identical, but related - in NZ there is an ongoing saga of "Kim sitcom" where the USA has effectively got NZ agencies to act extra judicially to enforce their will (over copyright issues). But it was the NZ agencies that broke down his door and killed his dog....

  • The commentary about Kim Dotcom is not needed and is significantly more nuanced than you suggest - theres substantially more than just copyright involved there.
    – user28517
    Dec 27, 2020 at 20:31
  • @Moo Certainly the case has more nuance - most of which comes subsequent to the taping of his internet connection and high profile bust, however I still put to you it shows a realistic worst case scenario as to how enforcing copyright works - foreign governments are only an indirect threat -the people who prosecute the case are not foreign governments.
    – davidgo
    Dec 27, 2020 at 21:05
  • Kim is being extradited, which is very different to what this question is asking, hence my comment, and multiple NZ courts have ruled against him in this case, most recently the supreme court this year.
    – user28517
    Dec 27, 2020 at 21:22
  • @moo yes Kim Dotcom is likely to be extradited at the request of the US government - thewhole point of my statement is this needed to go through NZ courts first. Foreign laws are not binding on persons of other countries except to the extent that the country the person is in supports those laws.
    – davidgo
    Dec 28, 2020 at 1:07

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