Does Mullvad Keep Logs?
The question is whether Mullvad keeps logs or not. The answer isn’t just yes or no, as it depends on what we mean by “logs”.
There are many possible definitions of the term “logs”, and I will list them in a logical manner:
First, there is an informal definition of logs that does not match any precise scientific definition but rather matches everyday usage. This definition would include all information about your internet activity that is recorded anywhere in any form whatsoever. Example: If you visit example-dot-com then some records might be created which contain data indicating this fact (along with other facts such as IP address). These records could either be deleted at some later point (perhaps 30 days from now) if they are deemed unnecessary for whatever reason, or perhaps kept indefinitely for statistical purposes (to analyze traffic patterns over time). A host company may also sell access to their storage space to 3rd parties – who can do anything they want with the data stored there. Thus these so called logs contain all information about a person’s internet activity except his/her actual location/identity – unless he reveals this info somewhere else online.
The next definition of logs is the most precise scientific one – it matches what a computer scientist or engineer would understand as “logs”: A certain type of data structure that contains records about events in chronological order, usually time-stamped. There are many different types of such things, but for our purposes we can ignore the differences between them and focus on a more philosophical question: What does it mean to keep something like this? Keeping logs requires creating them in the first place. Someone must enter information into these logs (for example using some sort of interface) which creates a record there. Even if they never look at these logs again after entering this information, someone still had to do all the work involved with creating them initially.
So, in this sense of the word “logs”, Mullvad probably does not keep logs (unless you count configuration files as well). If they do then it is only because someone else created them.
The next definition of logs is very closely related to the first one – it again refers to any information about your activity that is stored anywhere: This time however we are not considering traffic patterns over long periods of time but rather short-term behavior involving specific web sites or services. Example: You access a certain site and log into an account using your email address and password (without 2FA activated). Now when you visit another site which has a malicious script on it which sends data back to this second site, there will be a record indicating that you accessed both sites.
Mullvad probably does not keep such logs (even though it depends on how you interpret the word “keep”). If they do then again, this is only because someone else created them.