VPN provider ExpressVPN has taken the decision to close down its operations in India following the latest move by local lawmakers.
Under India’s new VPN rule, which is set to come into effect on June 27, companies will be required to store users’ real names, IP addresses assigned to them, usage patterns and other identifying data.
ExpressVPN says it refuses to participate in the Indian government’s attempts to limit internet freedom, and that it is focused on protecting privacy and freedom of expression online.
ExpressVPN in India
ExpressVPN claims the move will make “minimal difference” in terms of the user experience. For any current Express VPN users who want to connect to an Indian server, they can select the VPN server location “India (via Singapore)” or “India (via UK)".
With virtual locations, the registered IP address matches the country users have chosen to connect to, while the server is physically located in another country.
As for internet users based in India, ExpressVPN says they can remain confident that their online traffic is not being logged or stored, and that it’s not being monitored by their government.
The new data law was put forward by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), ostensibly as a measure to fight cybercrime.
However, ExpressVPN claims the bill is “overreaching and so broad as to open up the window for potential abuse” and said it believes “damage done by potential misuse of this kind of law far outweighs any benefit that lawmakers claim would come from it.”
Many Indian lawmakers have taken a dim view of VPNs, despite the undeniable legitimate use cases for business VPNs. In September 2021, there were calls to ban VPN services from the nation outright, despite India VPNs being widely used among consumers in the region.