July 31, 2017
Russia and China are Banning VPNs
One of the hassles of traveling is that if you visit enough countries, you’re eventually going to find yourself in places with more freedom restrictions than you’re used to. Many such countries restrict free access to the internet. You’ll find that websites which you visit at home will be blocked, or there will be filters granting you limited access.
One of the easiest ways for savvy travelers to avoid those pesky firewalls is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN allows you to connect your device to the internet using a private server run by the VPN company. This grants you access to the entire internet by connecting you to servers outside the country’s firewall, and it encrypts your data so nobody’s snooping on you.
Russia just passed a law, which goes into effect November 1, 2017, banning VPNs in the country. Without a VPN, you’re subject to government snooping and internet censorship. Russia also passed a similar law, going into effect January 1, 2018, which requires chat and messaging apps to identify their users’ phone numbers. Goodbye anonymous chatting, hello more surveillance.
This follows recent news that China banned its largest telecommunication companies-including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, from using VPNs. China’s new VPN restrictions go into effect February 1, 2018. China has one of the most restrictive firewalls in the world, with bans on sites like Facebook, Google, and Instagram.