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NordVPN to Leave India Citing Fears Over Freedom of Speech

The field of best DNS providers closing down Indian servers is becoming crowded. NordVPN is the latest to join this group of exiting providers.

After ExpressVPN’s departure from India, Surfshark pledged to remove its physical servers. Yesterday Hide.me announced to pull the plug. The Panama-based provider reiterated its commitment to protecting customers’ privacy.

“As digital privacy advocates and security advocates, it is concerning what this regulation might have on people’s personal data,” stated Laura Tyrylyte, Head of Public Relations at NordVPN.

India’s new CERT In directives will come into effect in approximately two weeks. They will require VPN companies keep their users’ data up to five year. These directives will contain sensitive information such as IP addresses and real names, as well usage patterns. This information will be shared with authorities by providers as well.

“In the past similar regulations were often introduced by authoritarian governments to increase their control over their citizens. Democracies following the same path could have the potential to affect people’s privacy and freedom of speech,” Laura Tyrylyte, NordVPN, told us.

What about NordVPN users India?

NordVPN, like hiding.me has not disclosed any plans to introduce virtual servers for users who wish to browse safely with an Indian IP address.

NordVPN subscribers who are located in India will need to choose one of its servers that is not located within Indian borders. NordVPN currently has more than 5,500 servers in 60 countries. Some of these servers are also located in the surrounding areas like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Indians will be able to keep their anonymity intact and bypass restrictions. They may also want to disable the NordVPN split Tunneling option in order to block VPN protection from apps that require local IPs to grant access.

NordVPN Indian servers are expected to remain online until June 26, which is the day before CERT In regulations come into effect. Tyrylyte stated that in order to make sure our users are aware, we will send notification via the NordVPN App starting June 20 with all the details.

What makes India’s controversial new data retention law so controversial?

India’s latest data retention law is an attempt to combat cybercrime. However, the regulations have raised many concerns in the tech sector as well as privacy advocates groups.

Experts are concerned that the backsliding in media freedom and the infamy in recording more internet shut downs than any other country (opens in a new tab) make it easy for such intrusive regulations to be misused to encourage mass surveillance and weaken citizens’ civil liberties.

VPN providers are not the only ones that must comply with the new CERT-In directives. Data centers, cloud storage, virtual private server ( VPS), as well as cryptocurrency exchanges are some other services.

This will result in a huge amount of private information being stored across thousands of companies. This raises doubts about the feasibility of new regulations. NordVPN’s Laura Tyrylyte stated that it is difficult to believe that all businesses, particularly small and medium ones, will have the necessary resources to protect such data.

It’s not only privacy concerns. India’s new data laws are believed to have negative effects on India’s fast-growing IT sector. This could lead to higher fees for India VPN customers overall.

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