-The video makes a good point in that Techlore has legitimately flip flopped 100% on his previous videos, which are still live to this day. This is fine, if that’s the case that Techlore has gotten to be a better reviewer, but it still is a bit cringe watching him make jokes about NordVPN sponsors…
-From what I could find about the Grapehene OS stuff, it does seem to be that there was some drama between Techlore and Grapehene. I searched some of the threads screenshotted in the video, and was able to find proof of that currently in the discord, Not a good look imo…
-Not a huge fan of how privacytools.io’s subreddit is still owned by privacyguides. The privacyguides creator is still active on twitter, and the website is still being updated. has the privacyguides team, or the moderation team here (Jonah Aragorn) give any indication of why its still being held hostage?
Overall, the video is very lazily edited, lambasted with bad music, and clearly made by someone upset by falling into the NordVPN auto renewal trap. But, I have to admit, he does make some good points
I haven’t watched the video and don’t intend to, but I’ll get back to some of your points:
Techlore has legitimately flip flopped 100% on his previous videos, which are still live to this day. This is fine, if that’s the case that Techlore has gotten to be a better reviewer, but it still is a bit cringe watching him make jokes about NordVPN sponsors…
The VPN review protocol has consistently changed throughout the years as we’ve developed & grown.
The old VPN reviews (for all VPNs) have all been unlisted for a long time now and live in our archive playlist. (There’s a lot of awful crap in here) These are no longer public videos. The only reason they’re left unlisted is we would surely be accused of “hiding evidence” if they were completely made private. Rather, they stay unlisted and used as an educational resource for ourselves and our audience for transparency.
There are many other videos aside from these too that did not age well. It’s impossible for us to make content that will age well every time. That’s why we made a changelog that documents these, which I encourage everyone reads. It’s designed for situations exactly like this.
Every review links to the newest one. The reality is Nord was a top recommendation for a long time, and this was all based on a systematic review protocol we used and applied for all VPN services at the time. The challenging thing for us was it took weeks to re-review each VPN provider, and we couldn’t possibly continue reviewing new services while updating old ones without becoming entirely a VPN channel. So we eventually dropped the entire concept of VPN reviews and now only recommend people use our VPN ToolKit, which allows us to much more easily respond to changes/incidents/etc.
I want to clearly outline Nord has never been a sponsor of ours, and we’ve only ever maintained an affiliate relationship with them, which we always combined with the opt-in system we’ve always had. Even to this day, we do not allow VPN sponsors despite accepting sponsorships. This has always been and still is our protocol.
Personal note: Looking at the reviews we’ve made of Nord, it very closely resembles their own fall from grace. I genuinely do not think our approach in how we handled Nord was grossly mismanaged. If you look at their history and our reviews you’ll see each review clearly covers the incidents as they happened, Nord back then used to genuinely be a great option compared to the competition. And to be honest, we’ve botched other providers much worse than Nord, particularly Windscribe who I feel was always given the short end of the stick from our old review protocols. We’ve grown and gotten better, I’m not sure how acknowledging and making those improvements is necessarily hypocritical.
From what I could find about the Grapehene OS stuff, it does seem to be that there was some drama between Techlore and Grapehene.
Without stirring this pot too much, all I’ll say is there are countless happy people who use and discuss this ROM in all our communities. (including this one) We are no longer formally covering/talking/discussing this ROM as they continually make legal threats against us and others in the privacy community. (Which is part of the reason they were removed from our website) I’m not sure what the screenshots are since I didn’t watch the video, but we do our best to moderate the situation on Discord; I encourage you to search the ROM name and read through the discussions yourself, and if anything breaks our community rules - report it a mod. We’re not thrilled about the situation, but we still allow users of this ROM to be in our communities and discuss it just like any other project, as long as no one is breaking rules.
Not a huge fan of how privacytools.io ’s subreddit is still owned by privacyguides. The privacyguides creator is still active on twitter, and the website is still being updated. has the privacyguides team, or the moderation team here (Jonah Aragorn) give any indication of why its still being held hostage?
Regarding the PTIO situation, I’ve been staying well clear of it and am allowing Jonah/PG/PT to work that out amongst themselves. If he wants to comment on it himself he can, but I’ve been doing everything possible to stay out of it. All my interactions with PTIO/burang (whatever their name is)/PG etc. have all taken place publicly on Twitter and I can assure I’ve had no other contact with them regarding this matter. I understand how Jonah being associated with us can make us seem involved in this, but we’re really not trying to get involved here. As far as we’re concerned, the team that we supported at PTIO migrated to PG, so that’s currently the project we’re still supporting/donating to. If you want more clarity on this, I’d ask a PG community to try and get a response from them if they choose to give one.
I don’t have the context of watching the video (for my own sanity) - but I hope that clears up what’s happening over here. We’ve tried to set everything up so people can verify themselves what we do, so you don’t really have to take my word for a lot of this. We piss a lot of people off, I think that’s just part of us growing in size, especially when we’ve been uploading for so long and so much of our older content is showing its age. I look back and cringe just as much at some of our older content, including those Nord reviews
The Nord things, yes he recommended Nord in the past and he is also clearly not hiding it or the videos wouldn’t be online anymore. I also don’t see the problem with changing your mind about something if so much … stuff becomes public
the whole privacytools vs privacyguides topic is not techlores fault IMO so I have no idea why it is even in the video
the graphene stuff ignores everything they did and as evidence that the techlore community is hating on them they basically only show screenshots from a public server with thousands of user that are all pretty much free to say whatever they want
him switching away form custom roms was his personal decision and at least as far as i can tell he still recommends for the average person to use a custom rom
he makes ads for something he actually believes in (localmonero, cake wallet, …) … i think i dont need to say more
he respondent to THO after he was calling him out … what a surprise. you prob never watched the patreon videos of THO but I remember a time were all his patreon content was basically crying about that he doesnt get as much views and that youtube tries to destroy him
and oh no the techlore community doesnt like people who spread misinformation aka the brax and the spark
Even with a potential bias against the content made by some creators, I will still see folks who watch those videos on this forum and we’re cool. I think that the privacy space is big and there are lots of opinions and threat models to contend with. At least in this space, as long as you’re chill and don’t break the forum rules, you’re welcome to join the discussions. I haven’t seen any calls for toxicity from Techlore or this forum. I think we’ve done a good job of discouraging toxicity when emotions run hot.
@PrivacyNerdx you posted this in the Techlore forum so I think you know on average responses will be positive toward Henry and the team.
For all of us in general, Henry has given his own response and we can always go watch old content and find old screenshots to make up our own minds. I guess this is just a small reminder to be chill. Of course you can speak your mind, but I think it’s helpful to remember that productive conversations are better than unproductive ones.
“internet” doesn’t forget. Then you are not allowed to change, evolve or make mistakes, everything is written in stone and you are going to be judged for the things made in the past and that are out of context today … very sad.
Techlore made some good points up above, but granted, he did forget to mention a few things.
When he did promote NordVPN, he makes it seem like it was the best VPN at the time, and so, no harm done. that said, Mullvad and iVPN were both very solid VPNs at the time that were not only more transparent, but more trustworthy as well.
In fact, Mullvad was the very first VPN to implement Wireguard, before Nord copied it and rebranded it called it Nordlynx…
Additionally, since Jonah is part of the Techlore team, it’s not entirely responsible to just stay out of the drama with privacytools. io. Not only that, but his coverage of the incident was clearly favored towards the team members he works with, and not the original creator, Burunghantu, who had his subreddit stolen.
Simply staying out of it, when your own team members are involved in alleged criminal offenses as stealing funds from Burunghantu, as he claims in his blog post here, is sort of like the bystander effect imo.
Perhaps the better option would have been to remove Privacy guides members from Techlore, to distance themselves even more. But alas, techlore is generally very favorably mentioned on privacyguides subreddit and vice versa, so indirectly, he is benefitting from the promotion and alliance, if thats what u want to call it lol
This fella really watched a 10 minute tutorial on how to use windows movie maker XP. The best part of the “content” is in the description where he says he’s just mad that he bought a nordVPN subscription that won’t be refunded.
shady practices that can be disabled with the click of your mouse? If you don’t want it to renew you can turn it off whenever you want. Idrc about nord or what people think about it, but if you’re malding hard enough to make an “exposed” video about a youtuber who promoted a product that you don’t like one specific feature about that can easily be turned off, then you’re beyond help imo
Those videos have been unlisted for a good while now. All can be watched in the archived playlist I linked. You can see the dates for all changes made in the changelog. The only ‘public’ review is the most recent one that can still be searched & organically found on YT.
Since I seem to have made a cameo in this video and called toxic because I called Rob Braxman “not reliable”, I guess I’ll provide some context since the uploader of this video clearly did not read past the message.
My response was caused by a claim Braxman made that AT&T peering stations “shut down” port 1194 for 5 days, which is utter nonsense and would have been noticed by people other than him. The original poster who I replied to agreed that he routinely makes fabricated and overblown claims, some which directly harm the security of people (such as calling 2FA a big tech scam). It doesn’t take much beyond his own YouTube channel to see that his claims should be taken with caution. That’s all.
While I cannot speak on behalf of the community, I feel that a handful of the messages they cherry-picked were simply individual thoughts & criticisms, not “harassment” that they so claim. I don’t consider someone finding The Hated One weird “harassing”, that’s just their opinion which should be respected. You don’t have to agree with everyone, and that applies to Techlore as well. There’s been some takes from Henry that people don’t 100% agree with (myself included), and that’s absolutely okay. You aren’t toxic for finding a creator’s content “weird” or something you dislike. You also are not toxic for refuting claims that are untrue and suggesting people to get a better picture from other sources which have been properly vetted.
All in all this video is a nothing burger. It holds reviews from so many years ago to the same weight of everything that’s happened since and tries to make baseless claims that the community is harassing creators & projects which just isn’t true, at least from the “evidence” that was in the video.
If you come here to give Techlore benefit of the doubt, you should do the same for Rob, and not make unwarranted claims. Rob has since clarified his positions on that controversial video, and you just blatantly ignoring doesn’t help your argument you aren’t toxic… It just shows you like to cherry pick stuff and harass creators in public forums without doing your research.
I wouldn’t say its a nothing burger. The video’s main point is to show how Techlore’s takes have not aged well, and when he calls out Nord shills, he is sort of a hypocrite because he was one of the first people on Youtube to commonly recommend it and make a shit ton of money doing so (the video shows Henry buying a red tesla, which idk is true or not, but still an expensive car for a younger 20 something guy).
Techlore rationalizes it above because he used a “systemic protocol” or something to that effect, but clearly the protocol was not that good since most of the clips from the creator of the video at hand show Techlore talking about “flawless security” and amazing pricing, when NordVPN was never open source, still isn’t open source, etc. It doesn’t take a genius to see that a few years back. A basic level system admin probly didn’t trust Nord then, and doesn’t trust now.
Not really sure what certifications Henry has tho.
He just didn’t know that much about VPNs at the time, and he shouldn’t have been recommending them if that was the case IMO.
As for that video you posted, it conflates a bunch of things which are unrelated and poorly researched by the author.
For example the claim about Proton Mail:
They were served a court order from a Swiss court which they were obligated to comply with, as is every email provider. Not complying with a court order puts the company at risk, ie they can then be charged with contempt and that means there is the possibility to have upstream services cut off/and or fines by the court.
The actual reason for the court order is unknown. The media latched onto the “climate activist” portion of it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was about that.
I thought I’d point out that BurungHantu’s entire claim is fictitious nonsense.
The whole team decided universally to rebrand the organization, which we detailed in this post. At that point BurungHantu was not reachable for over a year, nor had he participated. In fact we had published our intentions for a good 3-4 months prior to pulling the trigger on the decision, yet as he was not available he took no part in it.
He only reappeared afterwards and that was because he was concerned about his SEO and the lack of future donations coming directly to him. We came to an agreement, that we’d remove the redirect, from privacytools.io to privacyguides.org, and he would continue to allow the subdomains for mastodon, matrix, peertube etc to remain operational. He then went back on his word. The services we ran couldn’t be migrated to the new domain and we wanted to allow users a chance to leave.
He then attempted a few “negative PR campaigns” (his wording), which mostly went nowhere, as there was no truth to them and enough people from the community were around to debunk them and call him out.
Anyway the particular post here I responded to some time ago, so I’ll avoid re-typing it:
There basically isn’t much truth to this blog post, as you can see it’s a lot of filler with very little fact. Seems to stem from him being angry about my single reply on twitter
His nonsense was debunked a 5 months ago here and here.
License was changed to be more professional, as the WTFPL license is basically a meme/joke.
This was further discussed publicly in #940 and here. The main problem with WTFPL is that it does not have a warranty exclusion claim like MIT or other responsible licenses. BurungHantu raised no issue with the change, and in fact made a change upon that change in 26ae2e3.
90% of the content
Most of it didn’t exist anymore, and was largely outdated.
The second comment about using your real name, well that’s every individual’s own choice. Nothing “shady” about that.
His transaction screenshots are without context, whenever I have challenged him on this he is unable to provide further detail. He’s never been able to tell us why his story took 34 months to be shared with the rest of the team.
If I was to have my guess, he’s picked some transactions that were innocent, and decided to write a story around it.
Remember, during this time, Jonah was paying for hosting etc.
He never stated why he went away, he would only turn up once every 6 months to say “hi” in our team room, then not be available again. At that point a responsible founder would have resigned so that the project could continue. It is worth noting at this point Privacy Guides did not exist, and most of the team members that make up that team were moderating the communities and providing the content for ptio.
I think BurungHantu is just mad that the team left, nobody stayed, leaving him with this massive job of maintaining his own site. He was happy for others to do the work while his SEO rank improved, which it did, with out efforts on the services.
Regarding Reddit, it’s very normal to be removed from admin and have it pass to the next mod in line when you haven’t logged in for over a year, this is the way things go. It is part of the terms and conditions. Moderator Guidelines for Healthy Communities - Reddit.
As we put in all the effort maintaining the subreddit we saw no sense in rewarding BurungHantu for his lack of activity. He hadn’t posted in the subreddit in over a year nor had he participated with the project in a longer period.
Any good sysop doesn’t wait for a domain to expire, or be unable to renew it. Without access to Burung Hantu, we considered it a risk. This is very normal. We did not know that he had it on auto renew for 20 years. Also it doesn’t really matter, if he were to die, then his bank accounts would be closed, and that would be that.
Reddit War, Censorship and Public Damage Control
I happen to have DMs from Burung, where he admitted to starting a “negative PR campaign”. TLDR was that he only appeared when the redirect was put in place, whinged about how it would “hurt his SEO”, so we reversed it. That didn’t stop him trying to accuse the team of stealing something which we created, maintained and looked after.
Takeover of GitHub
We archived the org, before he came back, and the intention was to keep a public record of issues that had been discussed. Quite often when reviewing things, we look back at what we said in the past.
Removed Project Funding: Used in Public Relations to Badmouth PrivacyTools
There’s no truth to that whatsoever. We don’t bother making withdrawals for things like “beer” and “pizza”. Long term, I’d like to see this used to further the privacy mission. Perhaps fund an audit. As it is, it’s very transparent that no money had been withdrawn. He conveniently left out that before OpenCollective, things went directly into his PayPal wallet.
and my other comment in that thread:
I think you might have missed the point in 4). We did remove him from OpenCollective, after all we worked on that, we migrated it to the new project, the TLDR was he wanted to keep everything.
BurungHantu basically wanted to get paid while others did his work, that’s the crux of his animosity towards us. Even when he was semi-absent he hadn’t produced a single bit of comment since like 2016, (can check commit logs for this) the migration included every member of the team, leaving BurungHantu by himself.
I think the blog post says everything about what he had in mind for the donations, he wanted to spend them on himself. We weren’t interested.
and trai_dep’s comments:
Regarding finances and transparency, it’s worth comparing the two organization’s approaches:
PrivacyGuides.org has signed up with, and obeys, the Open Collective agreement, and our cashflows page is here. We’re transparent and ethical – once we transitioned to our new brand and location, we cancelled the sponsorships we had and returned the monies that our sponsors gave us.
ALL the revenue, (hidden) affiliate links and embedded advertising revenue that is raised by PrivacyTools.io goes directly into Burung’s pocket, to spend as he pleases, with no transparency, explanation or justification. In the above linked blog entry, Burung even admits it,
The current stream of donations and affiliate revenue [is] literally for Beer, Coffee and Pizza.
Why not include hookers ’n blow (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? Who knows?
Burung also offered to sell the privacytools.io domain to us for US$5,000. We turned him down since we felt it was an unethical use of community funds. But it highlights his self-interested and mercenary approach to “his” project (that he hadn’t contributed to in any real extent for roughly two years, and was completely MIA (or as he put it, “planting trees” in Thailand) for the better part of a year).
Who’s approach is more ethical and community-responding?
We know lately there’s been some confusion surrounding our project, and we wanted to detail how we see the situation as it stands currently:
A couple extra points:
As for his nonsense twitter post about his “attorney” he never did anything, because he has no case. He was purely looking for attention. OpenCollective requires a legal person of contact (name, address etc) and that was never BurungHantu.
Whenever anyone mentions any of the counter points on a platform such as his claim about “stolen crypto” and why he never told anyone (or any member of the team), he never responds, and just blocks you because he doesn’t want to debate it or be challenged.