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Post at: Aug 18 2022

India’s new VPN rules

What is a VPN ?

  • A virtual private network creates a safe network within the larger global network of the internet and masks the IP address of the user by rerouting the data.
  • A VPN serves as a tunnel, taking data from one server and masking it with a different identity before sending it to the other server.
  • In essence, a VPN creates several proxy identities for your data and delivers it safely without disturbing the content of the data.

Why do people use VPN?

  • Using VPN,precise location cannot be identified since the demographic location data originates from a server located in another nation.
  • Any possible records of user behaviour are kept secret at all times,ensures data security.
  • A VPN connection masks your internet data traffic and guards it against unauthorised access.

Recent Context

  • In june 2022, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued new rules for companies offering Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
  • Under the new rules VPN providers to keep a wide range of data on their customers, including contact numbers, email addresses and IP addresses, for five years.

Key highlights

  • The national directive applies not only to VPN companies, but to Cloud Service providers,Data Centre and Crypto Exchanges plateforms too.
  • Companies will have to store user names, IP addresses, usage patterns, other forms of identifiable information.
  • The companies also have to report “unauthorized access to social media accounts” as part of the new rules.
  • Resposible authority will face up to 1 year in prison in case of non-compliance.

Need of this new rule-

  • It would make it simpler for law enforcement to find offenders who use VPNs to mask their online footprints.
  • Users these days are shifting towards the dark and deep web, which are much tougher to police than VPN services.

Significance

  • VPN users in India may face strict know-your-customer (KYC) verification process when signing up for a VPN service.
  • These move would be in breach of the privacy cover provided by VPN platforms.
  • VPN companies might transfer their offices to another countries,negative impact on employement.

Conclusion

  • VPN companies were running on 'No rules means Zero rules' formula.With these new set of rules VPN companies have to maintain some logs to run their service efficiently.This will make them more accountable and services transparent.

CERT-In 

  • CERT-In is an organisation of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology with the objective of securing Indian cyberspace.
  • Operational since January 2004.
  • Takes its powers from Information Technology Amendment Act 2008.

Responsible for-

  • Collection,Analysis and Dissemination of information on Cyber Security.
  • Forecasts and Alerts of cyber security incidents.
  • Take emergency measures for handling cyber security incidents.
  • Issues guidelines,advisories and whitepapers relating to Information Security practices,procedures,prevention,response and reporting of cyber incidents.

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