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VPNs against TOS?

  • 5 February 2021
  • 6 replies
  • 367 views

The Shadow terms of service prohibit VPN use, and state “Committing the following activities in this article may cause your account to be terminated“

 

The listed reason is that you might make it impossible to access your shadow without a reset.

However it only says “VPN”, not “System-Wide VPN”; A browser extension VPN could never affect your shadow’s functionality.

 

The blanket ban on VPNs seems kinda weird.  I’ve tried the VR Alpha and had to factory reset my Shadow because of a bug, but it seems odd to me that-

  • Me,
  • Messing up my Shadow…
  • Is a violation of TOS.

It’s not like a person would have to involve Shadow customer service to reset their Shadow, you just use the website and reset it.  I’m not saying people should try to use a system-wide VPN, but I’m also not suggesting people should to try use Shadow on a 2.4GHz wifi connection…

 

There should be a difference between a user creating a bad experience for themselves, and breaking TOS.  This seems like it should be a warning, of like, “Hey, if you use a system-wide VPN it will probably bork your Shadow and force a reset”, rather than a TOS violation.

 

Is it piracy related?  It’s already against the TOS to use your Shadow for illegal activity, so is that not enough?  And Tor isn’t included in the rule, nor is it against the TOS to use proxies, so I don’t understand the VPN rule as it concerns piracy and whatnot.

“But, come one, Tor and Proxies are PRETTY MUCH VPNs, right?  That’s just semantics.”

Lol, no.  They’ve very different technologies.

 

I’m not even a VPN fan myself.  They’re highly over-rated.

Still, this rule seems strange.

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Best answer by Jim29er 5 February 2021, 17:10

I see the issue called out in this “Rules & Restrictions” article:

https://help.shadow.tech/hc/en-gb/articles/360000455174-Rules-and-Restrictions-on-Shadow

...but not in this “Terms of Use” one:

https://shadow.tech/terms-of-use

My take, is that Blade is not going to “seek out” banning accounts due simply to the use of VPNs, but rather wants to “keep the option open” if that activity were to coincide with something demonstrably nefarious or harmful, which would be on a case-by-case basis. Like you say, the self-inflicted wound of breaking the VM’s network connectivity can be recovered via a reset, so why would they care.

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My understanding:

Normal:
You - Shadow

Your VPN:
You - VPN - Shadow (this works, if your VPN is configured right, although it may cause a poor connection to Shadow as Shadow is no longer directly tunneled to you, and so Shadow can’t be held accountable for lag and poor experience)

Shadow VPN
You - Shadow - VPN (this doesn’t work and breaks your connection to Shadow)

It’s not so much a ‘rule’ as a ‘restriction’….as in, it just doesn’t work. Similar to trying to run a VM on your Shadow. It just doesn’t work. You can’t do it. It’s not that you’re not allowed to do it, it’s that you can’t.

Again, this is just my personal understanding and could be wrong, As Jim29er pointed out, VPN’s aren’t actually in the TOS.

This VPN barrier is what is preventing me from adopting a shadow PC as my main use for work alternative system.  I can get away with a bunch by using our webapps but sometime you jsut need direct access to the networks recourses via a old fashioned VPN connection.  My VPN only needs the built in MS client to be configured too. 

It’s a little confusing.  The “terms” page might not say it’s banned, but it doesn’t say it’s allowed, either.  The “rules” page outright says you can have your account terminated for using a VPN.

 

The problem is that a browser extension-based VPN running on the browser on your shadow machine cannot possibly affect your ability to connect to your shadow machine; only a system-wide VPN could ever do that.  The rules say “VPN”, and don’t make an exception for browser extension-based ones.
Extension based VPNs are very popular nowadays, and they have no possibility of messing up anything.

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In a nutshell, if the services that reach out and let Blade know the VM is operational go down, your Shadow ceases to operate, and if the VPN runs on startup… well, you’re bricked until you RAZ. There’s plenty of people that use split tunnel VPNs to connect to their Shadow using Zerotier, but those don’t completely break networking for the VM.

In a nutshell, if the services that reach out and let Blade know the VM is operational go down, your Shadow ceases to operate, and if the VPN runs on startup… well, you’re bricked until you RAZ. There’s plenty of people that use split tunnel VPNs to connect to their Shadow using Zerotier, but those don’t completely break networking for the VM.


I can understand why you wouldn’t want to break your ability to use your Shadow, but I can also understand why you wouldn’t want to try playing EVE Online on a 2 inch monitor, or try streaming on a 2G cellular connection… What I don’t understand is why one of those three dumb things may cause your account to be terminated, and the others won’t.

 

I mean over here it’s talked about in a more reasonable fashion, “If you've installed a VPN client onto Shadow and have lost connection to the service, we recommend that you reset Shadow to factory settings”, and isn’t talked about as a rule not to be broken, but more as a problem you should try to avoid.

 

Fact is a single-app VPN, like Firefox’s official browser VPN extension, has literally zero chance of bricking your Shadow, but the rules only say “No VPNs”, not “No system-wide VPNs and no 2inch screens and don’t play on a 2G connection or we’ll ban you”.

 

It seems like a weird RULE.  It makes sense as ADVISE, though.

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I see the issue called out in this “Rules & Restrictions” article:

https://help.shadow.tech/hc/en-gb/articles/360000455174-Rules-and-Restrictions-on-Shadow

...but not in this “Terms of Use” one:

https://shadow.tech/terms-of-use

My take, is that Blade is not going to “seek out” banning accounts due simply to the use of VPNs, but rather wants to “keep the option open” if that activity were to coincide with something demonstrably nefarious or harmful, which would be on a case-by-case basis. Like you say, the self-inflicted wound of breaking the VM’s network connectivity can be recovered via a reset, so why would they care.

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