ExpressVPN has removed its servers from India, becoming the first major virtual private network (VPN) provider to do so in the aftermath of the recent cybersecurity rules introduced by the country’s cybersecurity agency.
NOTE: See my earlier article at https://eogn.com/page-18080/12787685 for background information.
The rules require VPN providers to store user data for a period of five years. ExpressVPN said it “refuses to participate in the Indian government’s attempts to limit internet freedom.” The India Express reports:
In a blog post, the British Virgin Island-based company said that with the introduction of the new cybersecurity rules by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), it has made a “very straightforward decision to remove our Indian-based VPN servers.” While ExpressVPN is the first to pull its services from India, other VPN providers like NordVPN have also taken a similar stance.
The guidelines, released by CERT-In on April 26, asked VPN service providers along with data centers and cloud service providers, to store information such as names, e-mail IDs, contact numbers, and IP addresses (among other things) of their customers for a period of five years. The government said it wants these details to fight cybercrime, but the industry argues that privacy is the main selling points of VPN services, and such a move would be in breach of the privacy cover provided by VPN platforms.
ExpressVPN described the cybersecurity rules as “broad” and “overreaching.” “The law is also overreaching and so broad as to open up the window for potential abuse. We believe the damage done by potential misuse of this kind of law far outweighs any benefit that lawmakers claim would come from it,” ExpressVPN said. It added that while CERT-In’s rules are intended to fight cybercrime, they are “incompatible with the purpose of VPNs, which are designed to keep users’ online activity private.”
More details may be found at: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/expressvpn-services-india-new-vpn-rules-explained-7948845/