what is vpn and why do members of parliament want to permanently block indians from ever using it.
Earlier in august the department related parliamentary standing committee on home Affairs presented a report recommending that vpn should be banned for good. The report says the committee notes with anxiety the technological challenge posed by virtual private network that is vpn services and dark-web that can bypass cyber security walls and allow criminals to remain anonymous online. So it makes your internet connection private even if you are using a public internet connection that others are using such as your wi-fi connection at office or school. vpn also encrypts information so if you’re using vpn to do a bank transaction all that information will be encrypted which means even if that information is intercepted by someone. they cannot make much sense of it. The key feature of vpn is that it prevents monitoring of what you are doing online. What sites you visited what you typed or searched or bought online. in this way internet service providers the police or scammers trying to steal from you can’t see what you’re doing on the internet.
If you are using a vpn also makes it difficult to track what you’re doing online because vpn works by sending your internet traffic through many servers in different countries making it that much more difficult to identify who exactly is doing what on the internet.
So for example let’s say you’re in india and used vpn to look for shoes on the internet you can as usual search for shoes on google even if you’re using the vpn but the vpn might route your data requests through the us switzerland and computer service based in several other countries making it difficult to trace that data request for shoes back to you in india the use of vpn is rising and banning it is sure to impact indians a rep for a vpn provider proton vpn based in switzerland told the print in a 1st of september email since january 2021. we’ve seen proton vpn active users in india more than double and last year a referend vpn based in panama told the print on email the urge for vpn services followed the ban of apps linked to china.
if you might remember last year the government banned many chinese apps including the popular ones like. tick-tock and pubg not vpn said in september 2020 interest for vpns spiked 43. Just overnight and october last year interest in vpn rocketed 134 as you may have guessed by now it is possible to download an app banned in india via vpn and start using it so this home affair standing committee currently headed by rajya sabha and pianan sharma and including lok sabha mps like kirron kher as member says as of date vpn can easily be downloaded as many websites are providing such facilities and advertising them the committee. Therefore recommended that the home affairs ministry and it ministry coordinate to permanently block such vpns with the help of internet service providers the committee then the committee report goes on to recommend creating a way to coordinate with international agencies in other countries to ensure that these vpns are blocked permanently. The committee does have a point in saying vpn can be used by criminals who are trying to access illegal websites.
Access dark websites you need a special browser called tor however internet service providers will still know when you’re using tor and will know you are accessing the dark web and likely accessing an illegal site so to hide the use of tor vpn can be used however vpn is also used for good causes and blocking vpn might make life harder for indians. for example there are company employees who are working remotely since the pandemic companies cannot afford for their intellectual property to be hacked so they use vpn to keep their work safe activists journalists human rights workers living in authoritarian countries also use vpn to avoid their governments from tracking their work.
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