ExpressVPN says that the new Indian Government law is “overreaching and so broad as to open up the window for potential abuse.”
ExpressVPN is the first one to deny the Indian government’s new laws regarding VPN usage, and thus removes its VPN servers from India. The company in an official statement says that the VPN servers have been removed from India but the services will continue to be available to Indian users. Hence, you will be able to use ExpressVPN services from India via the virtual servers route, the servers of which will be placed in the UK and Singapore.
The Indian government will implement the new VPN rules from June 27, 2022, under which all VPN operators having their servers in India will need to collect users’ real names, IP addresses assigned to them, usage patterns, and other identifying data. The data would also be required to be shared with the authorities on demand. ExpressVPN says this defies the whole point of the PN services and hence, has decided to back out of India.
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ExpressVPN removes servers out of India
In its blog post, ExpressVPN expresses its views strongly against the new laws. “The new data law initiated by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), intended to help fight cybercrime, is incompatible with the purpose of VPNs, which are designed to keep users’ online activity private.” says ExpressVPN.
“The law is also overreaching and so broad as to open up the window for potential abuse. We believe the damage done by potential misuse of this kind of law far outweighs any benefit that lawmakers claim would come from it. ExpressVPN refuses to participate in the Indian government’s attempts to limit internet freedom. As a company focused on protecting privacy and freedom of expression online, we will continue to fight to keep users connected to the open and free internet with privacy and security, no matter where they are located,” it added.
For users of ExpressVPN, they will continue to get the same service but with slight changes. Instead of the physical Indian servers, users will now be able to select virtual servers that will represent the Indian region. These will be available via the UK and Singapore servers.
“Virtual server locations are not new to ExpressVPN; in fact, we have been operating our “India (via UK)” server location for several years. With virtual locations, the registered IP address matches the country you have chosen to connect to, while the server is physically located in another country. Virtual locations are used, where necessary, to provide faster, more reliable connections,” says the blog post.
ExpressVPN also assures that the user data will not be be stored at all. This includes all the online traffic log data, and none of it will be shared by the government.
It now remains to be seen how many other VPN services based out of India deal with the new laws. Will they comply with the new laws, or remove their VPN servers out of the country?