The Swiss-based company behind Proton VPN has decided to shut down all of its servers in India.
This comes amid concerns about new CERT-In regulations that are set to be enforced shortly.
Proton is just the latest of the best VPN providers to leave the country to protect its customers’ privacy. In June, we saw ExpressVPN exit India, Surfshark’s pledge to remove its physical servers, Hide.me’s announcement that it was pulling the plug, along with NordVPN, which most recently joined the exiting group, citing fears regarding freedom of expression.
New Indian law requires VPN companies to store users’ real names, IP addresses assigned to them, usage patterns and other identifying data for up to five years. You must also provide this information to authorities upon request.
Originally scheduled for June 28, the new law is expected to come into force on September 25.
Today we are removing our VPN servers in India to protect our community’s privacy due to the new Indian Surveillance Law. However, we have introduced intelligent routing servers to keep giving you an Indian IP address. Read @andyyen’s interview with @WSJ: https://t.co/5iIy1Di3mV09/22/2022
Smart routing servers to get an India IP
Talk about his decision in a blog post (opens in new tab)the provider said: “This is against everything we stand for.
“We have no intention of complying with this Invasive Mass Surveillance Act, leaving us with no choice but to remove our VPN servers from Indian jurisdiction.”
However, this does not mean that people in India cannot enjoy the protection of its software. But on the contrary.
Users can still opt for one of the many secure international servers available in 64 countries. And those who need a secure connection using an Indian IP address can enjoy the peace of mind Smart routing network.
Similar to other providers that have gone virtual to protect their users’ privacy, Proton Smart Routing servers are physically located in Singapore. However, these are the same in terms of functionality, allowing users to get an Indian IP.
“If you live in India or have connected to our India-based VPN servers from elsewhere, You can switch to these smart routing servers and use Proton VPN as before,” the provider assures.
Therefore, users in India while safely surfing the web locally will still have their data secured by a truly no-log VPN service.
Why is India’s new data retention law controversial?
While India’s new data retention law aims to crack down on cybercrime, its regulations have raised many concerns in the tech sector and privacy advocate groups.
“It will have a chilling effect. I’m really sad that the world’s largest democracy is going this route,” Andy Yen, CEO of Proton AG, told The Wall Street Journal. (opens in new tab)adding that the move will also put activists and whistleblowers at risk.
However, fears that such intrusive regulations could easily be abused to encourage mass surveillance and erode citizens’ civil liberties are not unfounded. Indeed, India is notorious for its backward media freedom (opens in new tab) and the disgrace of having more internet shutdowns than any other country (opens in new tab) in the world.
Additionally, VPN providers are just some of the companies subject to the new CERT-In guidelines. Other services include data centers, cloud storage services, virtual private servers (VPS), and cryptocurrency exchanges.
The amount of private information stored will then be enormous in thousands of different companies. This raises quite a few doubts about the feasibility of new regulations.
On that point, Laura Tyrylyte, Head of Public Relations at NordVPN, told TechRadar, “It’s hard to imagine that everyone, especially small and medium-sized businesses, will have the right tools to ensure the security of such data.”
And it’s not just privacy concerns. India’s new data law is believed to also have a negative impact on the fast-growing IT sector and potentially lead to higher fees for Indian VPN users overall.
https://www.techradar.com/news/this-is-against-everything-we-stand-for-proton-vpn-exits-india-over-new-data-law “This is against everything we stand for,” Proton VPN exits India over new data law