The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs may ban virtual private network services (VPN) in India because they threaten cyber-threats and other illegal activities.
Further, the report reveals that the committee recommended permanently blocking VPN services within the country using the assistance of Indian internet service providers. To permanently and effectively block VPNs, the committee asked the Ministry of Home Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology for coordination.
What is VPN?
VPN, also known as Virtual Private Network, is a secure connection that allows you to connect with the internet service provider. Your traffic is routed through encrypted channels. It hides your IP address so that no app can see it.
VPN apps let users simulate their network in a different location and hide their identities. VPN apps allow you to pretend that you are in India and enable you to view content only permitted in the US.
How VPN Works ?
VPNs are online tools that promise anonymity and privacy by allowing users access to a private network over a public internet connection. A VPN hides the IP address of the user. This makes it impossible for anyone to track the user’s internet activity and spy on their online activities. VPN connections are encrypted, and users can be sure that any data they send or receive will not be seen by prying eyes.
Indian companies could be in trouble if the ban is enforced.
Indian companies have had to make significant changes in their work culture, including adopting work from home models. According to an AtlastVPN analysis, VPN usage in India has increased dramatically since the switch to remote working. This was reflected in 348.7million VPN installs during the first half of 2021. This is a 671 percent increase over the previous year.
This immense country-wise growth placed India fourth globally, behind Qatar, UAE, and Singapore.
Indian companies are increasingly turning to VPNs to protect sensitive data shared within their organizations after giving up their security and encryption infrastructures. The central government relaxed norms regarding VPN use in June 2021 to allow employees to work remotely during a public health emergency.
A VPN can also provide anonymity and privacy for a company. However, it can also be used by online criminal actors to hide their illegal activities from the authorities. Cybercrime is a growing problem. VPNs are becoming increasingly valuable tools for blackhat hackers and cybercriminals.
The Parliament Standing Committee seems to have balanced the risk of cybercrime with the value of VPNs for India’s corporates and concluded that the former should be given priority.
The central government could take action on the recommendations of this committee. This would be a significant blow to many Indian companies, which have come to depend on VPNs to secure sensitive client data.