As India wants to jail internet users for viewing blocked sites, VPNs promise to bring back the internet
The Indian government, with the help of ISPs, has issued a new warning to those who visit banned websites in India: offenders could receive a three-year prison sentence plus a fine of 3 lakh rupees ($4,465).
If the warning actually starts to punish the perpetrators, then every internet user in India could become a criminal. Thousands of websites are currently being blocked in the country, and the new warning states that one does not even have to download a copyrighted material once accessing a banned website may result in punishment.
The blocked sites include 857 new sites including Vimeo, Weebly, and Github, many of which are unrelated to torrent downloads, but may contain pornographic content.
At the same time, blocking torrent sites is a move that has been heavily pressured by Bollywood film makers and is yet another infringement of internet freedom. Bollywood lawyers choose the sites to block without any clear criteria or reasons and usually the courts agree. Secondly, torrent sites are used for different purposes: like distributing data by companies or uploading content for fans if you are a freelance artist.
The threat of new penalties for accessing restricted websites could turn India into one of the largest markets for VPN (Virtual Private Network) service providers in the world. A VPN connects a user’s computer to a server in a country of their choice via an encrypted tunnel For example, a person can appear to be in the US, while they are actually in India, and vice versa, simply by choosing a different VPN server location. Therefore, the user can choose to access the blocked websites through a country where such websites are allowed.
NordVPN, a VPN provider that gives access to more than 550 servers worldwide and offers military-grade security, is a strong supporter of internet freedom. It is not clear if the current law will be enforced, but its existence shows that the government can decide to implement sanctions at any time, which is a direct violation of freedom of expression.
NordVPN keeps no logs and uses extremely strong encryption to route its users’ data across the Internet. This way users can protect themselves from data tracking or cyber attacks and maintain their anonymity online whether they are using a computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet or any other device that requires an internet connection. Also, NordVPN has released a number of new apps that are easy to use – just hit the play button – and choose a server for the country you want to connect to.