DIGITAL PRIVACY HAS had a rough couple of months. China and Russia moved to block virtual private network services, which means well over a billion people face losing their best chance at circumventing censorship laws.
First, China asked telco companies to start blocking user access to VPNs that didn’t pass government muster by next February. More recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law to ban VPNs and other anonymous browsing tools that undermine government censorship.
As citizens of these countries and people around the world try to understand the full scope and impact. Large corporations are not avoiding the conflict.
Apple complied with a Chinese government order to remove VPNs from its Chinese iOS AppStore, and the company that runs Amazon’s cloud services in China this week said it would no longer support VPN use. Even hotels around China that offered VPN services to foreign visitors are largely curtailing the practice.
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