China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has announced a 14-month “clean up” of internet access services, which includes a crackdown on virtual private networks (VPNs).
China is known for its strict Internet censorship laws through the so called Great Firewall Of China. The Great Firewall has blocked 171 out of the world’s 1,000 top websites, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Dropbox, and The Pirate Bay. In order to bypass restrictions and access these sites, millions of Chinese citizens use virtual private networks (VPNs).
However, the Chinese government has announced the mass shutdown of VPNs in the country, making it harder for internet users to bypass its Great Firewall.
Calling it a “clean-up” of China’s Internet connections, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Sunday that it had launched a 14-month-long crackdown on the use of unsupervised internet connections, including Virtual Private Networks.
The new rules make it illegal to use or operate a local VPN service without government approval, and require all VPNs and leased cable lines operating in China have a license from the government.
According to the ministry, “all special cable and VPN services on the mainland needed to obtain prior government approval, a move making most VPN service providers in the country of 730 million Internet users illegal.”
The ban on VPNs and cable connections would begin immediately and will remain in place until March 31, 2018.