From the «no privacy for you!» department:
Title: China to Start Blocking Unauthorized VPN Providers This April
Date: Sat, 03 Feb 2018 06:28:36 -0500
[image 1]Back in January 2017, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information
Technology announced a 14-month campaign to crack down on ‘unauthorized’
China said that Internet technologies and services had been expanding in a
“disorderly” fashion, so regulation was required. No surprise then that the
campaign targeted censorship-busting VPN services, which are used by citizens
and corporations to traverse the country’s Great Firewall.
Heralding a “nationwide Internet network access services clean-up”, China
warned that anyone operating such a service would require a government
telecommunications business license. It’s now been more than a year since that
announcement and much has happened in the interim.
In July 2017, Apple removed 674 VPN apps from its App Store and in
September, a local man was jailed for nine months for selling VPN software.
In December, another man was jailed for five-and-a-half years for selling a
VPN service without an appropriate license from the government.
This week the government provided an update on the crackdown, telling the media
that it will begin forcing local and foreign companies and individuals to use
only government-approved systems to access the wider Internet.
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) chief engineer Zhang
Feng reiterated earlier comments that VPN operators must be properly licensed
by the government, adding that unlicensed VPNs will be subjected to new rules
which come into force on March 31. The government plans to block unauthorized
VPN providers, official media reported.
“We want to regulate VPNs which unlawfully conduct cross-border operational
activities,” Zhang told reporters.
“Any foreign companies that want to set up a cross-border operation for private
use will need to set up a dedicated line for that purpose,” he said.
“They will be able to lease such a line or network legally from the
telecommunications import and export bureau. This shouldn’t affect their normal
operations much at all.”
Radio Free Asia reports that state-run telecoms companies including China
Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, which are approved providers, have all
been ordered to prevent their 1.3 billion subscribers from accessing blocked
content with VPNs.
“The campaign aims to regulate the market environment and keep it fair and
healthy,” Zhang added. “[As for] VPNs which unlawfully conduct cross-border
operational activities, we want to regulate this.”
So, it appears that VPN providers are still allowed in China, so long as
they’re officially licensed and approved by the government. However, in order
to get that licensing they need to comply with government regulations, which
means that people cannot use them to access content restricted by the Great
All that being said, Zhang is reported as saying that people shouldn’t be
concerned that their data is insecure as a result – neither providers nor the
government are able to access content sent over a state-approved VPN service,
“The rights for using normal intentional telecommunications services is
strictly protected,” said Zhang, adding that regulation means that
communications are “secure”.
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