Going to China? Don’t use a VPN, you could end up in jail

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China has made using virtual private networks (VPNs) illegal in a bid to further regulate internet usage and using them could land you in jail.

VPNs give users increased security by hiding or disguising their location.

They are frequently used in China to get around the country’s blocks on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google

VPNs are used in other countries such as the Thailand as a means of accessing certain sites such as US Netflix – although this does breach copyright laws.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology claims that the measures were needed to “clean-up” internet connections.

The new laws come into effect on 31 March 2018 so you still have some time to catch up on Facebook in China without going straight to prison.

It is clear that not all members of Chinese hierarchy are in favour of controlling the internet usage in China.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this month, Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, suggested net censorship was short-sighted.

“We must redouble efforts to develop global connectivity to enable all countries to achieve inter-connected growth and share prosperity,” he said.

“Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also black light and air.”

Strict controls on VPN usage are not just restricted to China with Netflix blocking users viewing certain content from outside of a user’s permitted region.

A blog post said: “Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory.”

“To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it.”

Via: South China Morning Post

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