- The new cybersecurity rules were supposed to be enforced on June 28.
- The CERT-In then extended the deadline to September 25.
- The rule mandates companies to store India users’ data locally.
Proton, a Swiss internet company best known for its virtual-private-network services, is removing its servers from India in order to “protect” users’ privacy. To protest upcoming cybersecurity rules that require VPN operators to store Indian users’ data locally, the company decided to shut down servers in the country. Proton is a major VPN service provider in India and around the world. Earlier, Nord Security and ExpressVPN, both based in the British Virgin Islands, decided to shut down their systems in protest of the government’s new rules.
However, Proton, like its competitors, clarified that users in India will still be able to use its service, and they are rolling out “smart routing servers” to give them an Indian IP address. In a tweet, the company said, “Today, we’re removing our VPN servers in India to protect the privacy of our community due to India’s new surveillance law. However, we’ve rolled out smart routing servers to still give you an Indian IP address.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Proton AG Chief Executive Andy Yen said that the new cybersecurity rules by CERT-IN, a department with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology “will undermine internet freedom and endanger activists and whistleblowers, who often use VPNs to protect their identities from the government.”
The new cybersecurity regulations were supposed to go into effect on June 28. The deadline was then extended to September 25 by the CERT-In. Companies, on the other hand, have found a way to avoid the new norms. Because VPNs operate over the internet, many businesses do not require servers in India. To avoid local laws, these companies are shutting down services in India.
According to the new rules, VPN operators must keep user data such as names, email addresses, contact numbers, and IP addresses for five years. Furthermore, when asked, companies may be required to share data with the government. Because VPNs allow users to be anonymous on the internet, the government claims that rules are essential to national security.
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