China orders telcoms to block individual access to VPNs, says report

China orders telcoms to block individual access to VPNs, says report”

Last week, we'd heard that China was cracking down on virtual private networks (VPNs), when one such popular VPN reported that the government had shut it down.

The move, part of President Xi Jinping's 'cyber sovereignty campaign, ' will affect state-run firms, namely China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, all of which will be forced to block users from using VPNs, according to unnamed officials cited in a Bloomberg Technology report. Companies operating on Chinese soil can use leased lines to access the worldwide web but must register their usage of such services for the record, the people said. VPNs are used as a loophole around China's strict Internet policies to access blocked content from overseas, and the Internet is rife with plenty of free and paid options.

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.

This is worth reading: On ChinaFile, Sergey Radchenko looks at the history of relations between China and North Korea and concludes that Beijing is simply not going to provide any meaningful leverage over Pyongyang and that Washington "has no recourse but to consider direct engagement".

Sources told Bloomberg state-run telcos such as China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telcom received their marching orders with a Feb 1, 2018, deadline. "VPNs are incredibly important for companies trying to access global services outside of China", he said. But the restrictions seem to be aimed mainly at individual consumers. It's unclear precisely what the total effect of the VPN ban would be, as individual policing such use could prove hard, though the minister did pledge back in January to clamp down on VPN usage.

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