Ban on VPNs in China and Russia – What’s the purpose?

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Apple removed around 60 Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps from its app store in China over the weekend. VPN apps that provide servers to surf the internet anonymously and access banned content, have not only been hit by Apple in China but Russia’s president has also signed a law today to deactivate all the VPNs and proxy servers in the country.

According to the Apple, they had to remove the VPN apps because of their inability to conform to new legal regulations set by the company. Although the exact number of the VPNs removed is still unknown but as reported by BBC, the number of unfortunate apps isn’t less than 60.

However, some VPN apps are still available in China’s app store and some plan to fight against the ban by filing an appeal with Apple. One of the smacked apps, ExpressVPN showed its disappointment tweeting, “VPNs removed from China App Store, Dismayed Apple sided with censorship, but we’re committed to keeping you connected.”

The reason of the VPN apps removal lies in an announcement made by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that asked the VPN developers to apply for a legal license from the government in order to work in their country.

It is not the first time that China is being strict with its cyber security; the country has always been alert and overprotective towards the internet usage by its nation. Most of the major social media websites as well as the search engines like Google are also banned. Beijing doesn’t allow its population to enjoy Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Even the world famous messaging app ‘Whatsapp’ face issues sometimes working properly in China.

VPNs blocked in Russia

Developers of VPNs aren’t just worried about their ban in China only since Russia, meanwhile, has also decided to get all VPN and proxy servers blocked, according to the law documented and signed by the President Vladimir Putin.

Approved by the lower parliament, the law will totally ban the VPNs and other proxy servers that allow users to access banned website and content online, in the country. RIA news agency says that the law is only intended to block the unlawful content from reaching out to the public.

The purpose of these sudden bans seem like a plan to keep the nation away from anti-state propaganda that manipulates the opinion of public. Mostly the websites that are banned by the government carry content against the law and society of the respective country, but VPN apps and websites can easily allow such content to flow in.

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