China is clamping down on the use of VPNs to evade the Great Firewall.
China is tightening control over foreign companies’ #internet use. This is seen by some as a move that might disrupt their operations or jeopardize trade secrets. It is also seen as part of a broader crackdown on technology that allows web surfers to evade Beijing’s online censorship.
Virtual private networks create encrypted links between computers. As a result, they can be used to see sites blocked by Beijing’s web filters.
The biggest Chinese internet service provider says virtual private networks will be permitted only to connect to a company’s headquarters abroad. VPN users are barred from linking to other sites outside China. This change might block access to news, social media or business services that are obscured by its “Great Firewall.”
Only VPNs approved by Chinese authorities are allowed. That has prompted fears of possible loss of trade secrets or information about customers or employees. Some companies question the reliability of Chinese encryption services. In addition they question whether authorities might read messages.
The crackdown reflects President Xi Jinping’s vision of “internet sovereignty.” By that he means Beijing’s absolute right to control what people can do and see online.