Another of the world's best VPN providers has decided to phase out its Indian servers in the face of an imminent privacy law.
After ExpressVPN left India and Surfshark pledged to take down their servers, it's time for Hide.me to leave the country on the grounds that India's new data retention law "makes it impossible to exploit a VPN without registration" .
India's new CERT-In guidelines, due to be implemented before the end of the month, are expected to require VPN companies to retain user data, such as IP addresses, real names and usage patterns, for up to five years. Suppliers must also be prepared to provide this information to authorities upon request.
“It is a shame that India has decided to implement this new law which is diametrically opposed to what a VPN is supposed to offer,” the provider wrote in a blog post (opens in a new tab).
Due to new laws in India regarding user data retention that will come into force on June 27, 2022. We are disappointed to announce that https://t.co/w8STwOZb7q VPN will be phasing out our Indian VPN servers. Questions ? Answers on the blog below: https://t.co/F9nKZieMpt June 10, 2022
What does this mean for Hide.me users in India?
Unlike ExpressVPN and Surfshark, Hide.me does not plan to introduce virtual servers to protect user privacy.
This means that people in India will still be able to use their HIde.me subscription, but will need to switch to one of their available servers outside of the country. With up to 2000 servers to choose from in 75 countries, including some in surrounding regions like Vietnam and Indonesia, subscribers will always be spoiled for choice (opens in a new tab).
The only difference is that Hide.me users will no longer be able to browse the Internet securely with a secure Indian IP address. The provider told TechRadar that it took down the server just after the announcement was published, so users can expect it to go offline sometime this week.
"Hopefully over time this new law can be repealed and we can get back to operating servers in India," the provider said.
(Image credit: Hide.me)
What is India's new data retention law?
VPN providers are not the only target of India's new data retention law. Cloud storage services, virtual private servers (VPS), data centers, and cryptocurrency exchanges will soon be affected by the new CERT-In regulations. In an attempt to combat cybercrime, these guidelines have caused widespread concern among tech industry and privacy groups.
In a country where media freedom is fading (opens in a new tab) and infamous for seeing more internet blackouts than any other country (opens in a new tab), pundits and libertarians fear that such intrusive regulations can be misused to encourage mass communication. surveillance and undermine the civil liberties of citizens.
And it's not just about privacy concerns. India's new data law would also negatively affect its growing IT sector. As Sudip Saha, chief operating officer of Future Market Insights, told TechRadar, "VPN bans will primarily harm corporate interests by discouraging investment and business in India."
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