Explained: Why VPN providers believe new rules will undermine users’ privacy

What is the News?

Virtual private network(VPN) service providers are up in arms against a new directive of The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team or Cert-In that mandates they must maintain all customer data for five years.

Cert-In also wants VPN service providers to maintain data such as the purpose for which the customers used their services, their validated addresses and contact numbers, and the ownership pattern of the customers.

What is an IP address?

Any and all devices connected to the internet are a part of a large network of computers, servers and other devices spread across the world.

To identify each device connected to the internet, service providers globally assign a unique address to each such device called the Internet Protocol(IP) address.

It is this IP address that helps websites, law enforcement agencies and even companies track down individual users and their accurate location.

Read more: Origin of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and how they work?
What is Virtual Private Network(VPN)?

A Virtual Private Network(VPN) when switched on, essentially creates a safe network within the larger global network of the internet and masks the IP address of the user by rerouting the data. 

Acting as a tunnel, a VPN takes data originating from one server and masks it in a different identity before delivering it to the destination server. 

In essence, a VPN creates several proxy identities for the data and delivers it safely without disturbing the content of the data.

Must read: Banning Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) – Explained, pointwise
Why is VPN important for users?

The main reason why privacy or anonymity is important for both VPN service providers and users is that it helps to avoid being tracked, mostly by websites and cybercriminals. 

Since VPN masks the location of a device from everyone, it also prevents government and law enforcement agencies from accurately identifying the location.

Read more: How India’s new VPN rules change the status quo

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why VPN providers believe new rules will undermine users’ privacy” published in Indian Express on 7th May 2022

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