Parliamentary Panel Advises Indian Government to Ban VPN Services

 

Citing the growing threat in cyberspace, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has advised the Indian government to block the virtual private network VPN (apps), saying VPNs provide significant technological challenges to maintain the sovereignty of the nation. 

The request from the Parliamentary Standing Committee comes as 31 Members of Parliament discovered that VPNs can bypass cyber security walls and allow cybercriminals to remain anonymous online. The Committee has termed the VPN services as a threat to counter cyber attacks and other nefarious activities. 

“The Committee notes with anxiety the technological challenge posed by VPN services and Dark Web, that can bypass cyber security walls and allow criminals to remain anonymous online. As of date, VPN can easily be downloaded, as many websites are providing such facilities and advertising them,” Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs said in its report. 

“The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Ministry of Home Affairs should coordinate with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to identify and permanently block such VPNs with the help of internet service providers.”

India had recorded a 671 percent rise in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020 as a result of transformational changes in the working cultures of Indian companies. “Prior to 2021, the VPN penetration rate in India hovered around 3 percent, which is near the bottom of the list globally. Yet, by far the most significant growth in the number of downloads in H1-2021 was in India,” said Atlas VPN, a free VPN app that conducted the analysis.

The Indian government must act to strengthen tracking and surveillance by improving and developing state-of-the-art technology and put a check on VPN and the Dark Web, the Parliamentary Standing Committee advised. 

Impacts of Banning VPN on Indian Citizens 

According to the National Cyber Security Coordinator, India faces around 375 cyberattacks on a daily basis. In such circumstances, banning VPN in India could cause irreparable damage for large businesses that have relied on VPNs to secure their network connections, especially as remote work continues to be a new trend. 

Additionally, internet users will be more prone to third-party attacks and malwares trying to steal private information. Also, the internet users will not be able to access content online that is otherwise not available in India or is restricted. Also not to forget, users will lose one of the most basic and easiest ways to maintain privacy online.