Using a VPN Will Soon Get You Arrested in China

Consumers living in China are restricted when they use the Internet. The Great Firewall of China does not allow users to visit just any website or online platform. Bypassing these artificial limitations can be easily done through a VPN service. However, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will crack down on VPN providers as of next week. The government plans to conduct a 14-month cleanup of internet access services.

China Wants To Crack Down On VPN Usage

It is not entirely surprising to find out the Chinese government has not taken kindly to VPN providers. After all, the region is home to the Great Firewall of China, and VPN providers allow consumers to bypass any artificial restriction internet service providers have put in place. Moreover, VPNs allow users to not be monitored by their ISP or the government.

As part of this new regulatory crackdown, VPN services need to obtain government approval before they can start offering their services. Moreover, anyone who uses a VPN service without permission will be committing a felony that is punishable by law. Quite an intriguing development, even though it is a direct attack on consumer privacy.

China is well-known for their censorship-enforcing attitude. With over 730 million Internet users in the country, the Great Firewall was designed to prevent access to sensitive topics. Unfortunately, the Great Firewall affects news outlets, search engines, and even social media platforms. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are officially blocked in China, and that situation will not change anytime soon.

The Chinese government has controlled internet access since the mid-1990s, and things have only gotten worse as more time progressed. Blocking VPN access is the latest step to ensure freedom of speech is reduced to a bare minimum. Enforcing such thorough censorship measures will only alienate China from the rest of the world. Tightening one’s grip on the internet is never the answer.

Considering how the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will conduct a “cleanup” over the next 14 months, things will only go from bad to worse as time progresses. Forcing VPN service providers to obtain a specific license and government approval before offering their service to Chinese customers feels like taking multiple steps backward.

Moreover, the bigger question is how the Chinese government will look at people who use a VPN without permission. It is unclear how they want to check up on who is authorized to use VPN access to begin with. It seems highly improbable the government can monitor every internet user at any given time to make sure they are following the rules, but one never knows what is happening behind the scenes in China.

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