Frequent readers will recall that India brought in strict new laws that require VPN operators to retain data on who uses their services, or else, and VPN companies considering their options including leaving the company. Which is the route that ExpressVPN took. And now it seems others are joining them in exiting the country. Starting with NordVPN:
“Moreover, we are committed to protecting the privacy of our customers. Therefore, we are no longer able to keep servers in India,” Laura Tyrylyte, head of public relations at NordVPN, told TechCrunch.
“Our Indian servers will remain until 26 June 2022. In order to ensure that our users are aware of this decision, we will send notifications with the full information via the NordVPN app starting 20 June. As digital privacy and security advocates, we are concerned about the possible effect this regulation may have on people’s data. From what it seems, the amount of stored private information will be drastically increased throughout hundreds or maybe thousands of different companies. It is hard to imagine that all, especially small and medium enterprises, will have the proper means to ensure the security of such data,” she added.
Joining them in heading to the exits is SurfShark:
Surfshark’s physical servers in India will be shut down before the new law comes into power. Up until then, users will be able to connect to servers in India as usual. After the new regulations come into effect, we’ll introduce our virtual Indian servers – which will be physically located in Singapore and London. Users will be able to find them in our regular list of servers.
Virtual servers are functionally identical to physical ones – the main difference is that they’re not located in the stated country. They still provide the same functionality – in this case, getting an Indian IP.
Users in India who don’t use Indian servers will not notice any differences – they will still be able to connect to whichever server outside the country they please. Meanwhile, Surfshark will continue to closely monitor the government’s attempts to limit internet freedom and encourage discussions intended to persuade the government to hear the arguments of the tech industry.
This isn’t really going well for India as I think they expected VPN companies to roll over and comply. But that’s not happening. And the fact that some VPN companies are pulling their servers from the company, it will encourage other VPN companies to do the same. That makes India look rather lame. And it may make them rethink this rather than lose face. Though I can see a scenario where India barrels ahead to make a point. We’ll have to see which direction that they decide to go in.