Menu
China goes after unauthorised VPN access from local ISPs

China goes after unauthorised VPN access from local ISPs

The crackdown is part of 14-month campaign to clean up the country’s internet service provider market

China is going after unauthorised internet connections, including tools known as VPNs (virtual private networks) that can bypass China’s efforts to control the web.

The crackdown is part of 14-month campaign from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that's meant to clean up the country’s internet service provider market

Unless authorised, internet service providers are forbidden from operating any “cross-border” channel business, including VPNs, the ministry said in a Sunday notice.

The announcement is a bit of rarity. The country has usually withheld from openly campaigning against VPN use, even as government censors have intermittently tried to squelch access to them in the past.

However, China has been steadily tightening control over the internet. Earlier this month, the country essentially extended its reach to local app stores operating in the country by forcing them to register with the government.

The action against VPNs will probably be alarming to businesses and local users in China who rely on them to access the internet unfiltered. Sites popular in the West such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have all been blocked in the country due to China’s strict censorship that targets anti-government views.

Sunday’s notice from China’s IT ministry essentially asks that internet backbone providers and ISPs “self-check” to weed out any unauthorised VPN use. But it’s unclear what affect this will have on third-party VPN providers, many of which operate in foreign countries, but also sell to customers in China.

For instance, sites such as SaferVPN, ExpressVPN and VyprVPN sell subscription-based services for around $10 a month or less. Despite China's censorship, these businesses are continually coming up with ways so that customers can access the unfiltered internet.

GreatFire.org, an activist group against China’s censorship, said Sunday's announcement probably has less to do with foreign VPN providers than local ones.

“I think actually that everyone is kind of misreading this info at the moment,” the group said over email. “I do not think that consumers are the ones who will get hit. Businesses who need unfettered access to the internet will suffer if their local provider decides not to provide this.”

Sunday’s notice said that local internet backbone providers in China can still offer private access lines for businesses to link with overseas offices.

However, use of those lines must be restricted for business purposes, and never linked with a data center or used to operate a telecommunication service. The Chinese backbone providers must also collect and establish user profiles for their customers.

In addition to the VPN issue, China’s IT ministry said on Sunday it will be investigating ISPs, internet data centers and content delivery networks for failing to receive the right business permits and operating in areas that exceed the intended scope.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments