VPN Services Might be Banned in India
VPNs have proven to be an invaluable tool for accessing blocked content globally, but the authorities in India consider it a tool that offers more significant benefits to cybercriminals. Since Cybercriminals can use VPNs to hide their identities online, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has urged the government to ban VPN services throughout the country.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee has proposed identifying and blocking VPN services in the country. The committee stated that VPNs pose a significant threat in terms of security challenges when combating cybercriminals.
The report titled “Action Taken by Government on Recommendations/Observations Contained in the 233rd Report on Atrocities and Crimes against Women and Children” proposed developing an effective mechanism by working with international agencies to ban VPNs in India for good.
It is worth noting this is not the first time the committee has attempted something like this to ban VPNs in India. In March of this year, the first draft of this report was submitted to Rajya Sabha. But with this follow-up, the committee highlights the importance of the Home Ministry of India and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to work together to do away with VPNs.
While the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology did provide a response, it was deemed unsatisfactory by the committee. However, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had shed light on powers the government can use to block access to information from the general public, such as:
- Defense of India
- Friendly Relations with the Foreign States
- Interest of Sovereignty and Integrity of India
- Public Order and so on.
On the flip side, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology notified the committee that the request for outright banning VPN services fell under Section 69A of the IT Act, meaning the process could only be initiated based on the rules provided within the said section. Apart from this, no other response was provided regarding banning VPN services in India.
Apart from banning VPN services in India, the committee advised the government to set up numerous cyber forensic labs to combat cybercrime. Additionally, it encouraged the government to update courses on cybercrimes for Indian law enforcement agencies.