China is a country that has been known to impose strict censorship on the internet, using what is known as the Great Firewall of China. This government system makes use of several tricks to censor the internet and deny people access to different foreign websites across China by the government.
The Great Fire wall has barred 171 out the 1000 most popular websites. These include Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Dropbox, as well as The Pirate Bay. In order to avoid such censorship, internet users across the country make use of virtual private networks (VPNs).
But things have now changed as the government of China has announced a soon to come wholesale shutdown of VPNs in the country, which will make it even more difficult for people to bypass the Great FireWall, says a report that was published by the South China Morning Post.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in an act it has called a sweep through the country’s internet, said on Sunday that it had initiated a hunt for VPNs that will last for about 14 months.
VPNs work by encrypting your browsing activity and diverting the traffic to a far-away connection to allow users in the country to keep their location data private and access websites that are normally blocked by the country’s Great Firewall.
These New laws mean it will now by illegal for anyone to use or run a local VPN service unless with a licence from the government.
The Ministry has said, ‘every special cable and VPN service on the mainland will now need to obtain government permission, a move that has now rendered most VPN services in the country with 730 million users of the internet, illegal.
In addition, each internet service provider, cloud service provider, and resellers of VPNs will now need to perform self inspection to spot and weed out any illegal activity taking place on their servier.
In a statement, the ministry said that the cloud computing and VPN markets of the country “ shows signs of chaotic development and thus the need for swift regulation” and that the VPN ban is in pursuit of stronger cyberspace information security management”
The ban on VPNs as well as cable connections will commence right away and won’t by removed until 2018 on the 18th of March.
Apart from the VPN’s ban, China’s Ministry of IT also added that the government would make investigations on ISPs, networks of content delivery, as well as data centres for failure of obtaining the necessary business permits.
This last move is not the only one, it is the most recent in a number of attempts made by the Government of China to bar citizens from using VPNs, which made it difficult for them to keep a close eye on the people.