Virtual Private Network services or VPN might face a ban in India, as the Parliamentary Standing Committee On Home Affairs is exploring this option on the grounds of being a threat to counter cyber threats and other illegal activities.
According to a report the committee has recommended permanently blocking VPN services in the country with the help of internet service providers in India.
The switch to remote working models has yielded a massive spike in the use of VPNs as reflected in an analysis conducted by AtlastVPN that showed that during the first half of 2021, installs of VPNs in India reached 348.7 million – a growth of 671 per cent over the previous year.
This was the highest country-wise growth seen around the world and placed India as the fourth-highest VPN adopter in the world behind only Qatar, the UAE and Singapore.
Virtual Private Network Services or VPN is an encrypted channel
The committee has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to coordinate with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to identify and permanently block VPNs.
It has also asked the Ministry to take initiatives to strengthen the tracking and surveillance mechanisms by improving and developing advanced technologies to scrutinize the use of VPN and the dark web in India.
VPN (also known as Virtual Private Network) creates a secure connection between you and the internet service provider where your traffic gets routed through an encrypted channel. It hides your IP address and does not allow any app to see its real location.
Citing the growing threat from the cyber domain, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has recommended banning Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), according to a report by MediaNama.
Noting that VPN services enabled “criminals to remain anonymous online,” the committee has suggested roping in India’s internet service providers to implement the ban, adding that “a coordination mechanism should also be developed with international agencies to ensure that these VPNs are blocked permanently.”