Major VPN services shut down in India over anti-privacy law

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New rules from India’s Computer Emergency Response Team

India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) has said that new rules will apply to VPN providers from September 25. These will require services to collect customer names, email addresses, and IP addresses. The data must be retained for at least five years, and handed over to CERT on demand.

This would breach the privacy standards of major VPN services, and be physically impossible for services like NordVPN, which keep no logs as a matter of policy. The company is registered in Panama specifically because there are no data-retention laws there, and no international intelligence sharing.

Major VPN services shut down Indian servers

The Wall Street Journal reports that major VPN services have shut down their Indian servers.

Major global providers of virtual private networks, which let internet users shield their identities online, are shutting down their servers in India to protest new government rules they say threaten their customers’ privacy […]

Such rules are “typically introduced by authoritarian governments in order to gain more control over their citizens,” said a spokeswoman for Nord Security, provider of NordVPN, which has stopped operating its servers in India. “If democracies follow the same path, it has the potential to affect people’s privacy as well as their freedom of speech,” she said […]

Other VPN services that have stopped operating servers in India in recent months are some of the world’s best known. They include U.S.-based Private Internet Access and IPVanish, Canada-based TunnelBear, British Virgin Islands-based ExpressVPN, and Lithuania-based Surfshark.

ExpressVPN said it “refuses to participate in the Indian government’s attempts to limit internet freedom.”

The government’s move “severely undermines the online privacy of Indian residents,” Private Internet Access said.

Customers in India will be able to connect to VPN servers in other countries. This is the same approach taken in Russia and China, where operating servers within those countries would require VPN companies to comply with similar legislation.

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Source: Major VPN services shut down in India over anti-privacy law

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