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article imageChina cracking down on anonymous browsers

By Ken Hanly     Aug 17, 2017 in Internet
Beijing - The Chinese government has issued a warning to websites that are selling virtual private networks (VPNs). The country outlawed the sale of VPN except those approved by the government in July.
While many articles speak of China having outlawed all VPN's in July that is not technically correct. What it did was require all VPN services to be certified and licensed by the government. This would require them to agree to censor those websites the government blocks. Businesses and individuals would still find VPN services significant for security purposes.
However China has issued a warning to websites that are selling VPNs. The Cyberspace Administration of China demanded that five different website remove vendors who sell VPNs that are not government approved. The VPNs are used to evade what is called the Great Firewall of China. Even such common websites as Twitter and Facebook are blocked by the Great Firewall. VPN's also keep ones Internet activity private from the government or others who might be spying on you. They are important for both both businesses and individuals.
One of the websites that received the warning is Alibaba's Taoba which is China's largest online retailer. The Cyberspace Administration ordered that the sites "immediately carry out a comprehensive c,lean-up of harmful information, close corresponding illegal accounts and submit a rectification report" according to Reuters. The government also ordered Apple to remove all VPN apps on its Chinese stores. Presumably they were all not government approved VPNs.
The VPNs that are being banned are able to route traffic through routers overseas that are free of the filters China used to block sites such as Twitter and Facebook. GreenVPN already stopped service as of July 1st in China after being ordered to cease operating. However, other popular services may also be blocked by now. The Chinese government has also intervened on its own local media platforms such as Weibo where it has blocked "negative talk".
The Chinese government requires all VPN services to apply for a licence, which will not be granted unless the service agrees to the government censorship policies. They have set a deadline of February 1 next year for all three of China's mobile operators to block all unlicensed VPN services. The Ministry of Information Technology said back in January of this year that the VPN and cloud computing market was undergoing "disorderly development" and there was an "urgent need for regulation norms". Russia also has recently passed legislation that will have effects similar to that of China's new rules.
More about chinese Internet censorship, vpns, Apple
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