China said to ban use of VPNs

telecomasia.net

China has reportedly instructed the nation's operators to bar their customers from accessing the internet via VPNs by February in the latest move to tighten controls over internet access.

State-run operators China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom have been ordered to bar their customers from using VPNs to skirt censorship restrictions, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

The government is reportedly moving to remove loopholes enabling internet users to circumvent the so-called Great Firewall of China, the system that blocks access to a range of information sources including foreign social media and news websites.

Many businesses also use VPNs to view restricted websites, and it is unclear how the new directive will affect multinationals operating within the country.

If the clampdown is extended to businesses it could potentially discourage businesses from operating in China or even convince them to move their local operations, the report states. But the restrictions seem to be aimed mainly at individual consumers.

If the restrictions are extended to businesses, it will add to the new regulatory burdens due to be introduced with China's new Cybersecurity Law, which imposes strict restrictions on the transfer of data overseas for businesses operating in China.

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