India’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has reportedly proposed the banning of VPN (virtual private networks) service in India, citing threat to cybersecurity.
India believes that VPNs allowed criminals to create an anonymous presence online and India should develop a coordination mechanism to permanently block the service, according to the House panel’s proposal.
VPNs encrypt data while online and hide the user’s IP (Internet Protocol) address. IP allows users to log on to blocked sites. The VPN service also hides online identity even when on a public WiFi network.
Apart from enabling users to log on to blocked sites, VPN services help most companies in the country secure their digital assets. VPNs have become a very useful tool to facilitate seamless transition to work from home during the Covid-induced lockdowns.
Technological challenges of the Dark Web and VPN services can bypass cyber security and enable criminals to retain their anonymity online. according to the House panel said many websites advertise VPN services, which can be easily downloaded.
The Union Home Ministry 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 House panel said in its report submitted to Rajya Sabha on August 10.
The proposal to ban VPNs will be a worry for companies in India as it would impact their data security. If the government does follow the House panel’s suggestions and blocks VPN services in the country, it could be a huge cause for concern for IT companies remotely running operations, banks conducting online transactions online.