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updated 12:00 PM UTC, Nov 17, 2017
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Dark Days Ahead; China to Ban Individual VPN Access by 1 Feb 2018

China’s latest crackdown on Internet restrictions has people predicting Facebook fatality.

In keeping with president Xi Jinping’s “cyber sovereignty” push, it has been reported that Beijing has instructed leading Internet providers China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom to completely stop all individual access to VPNs by 1 February 2018.

It is unclear how this will affect multinational companies, as much of their work here is kept secure via the use of VPNs. At the time of writing this and with the information that has been released, it can be assumed that this will only affect individual use, blocking the individual from accessing VPNs in order to gain access to the international web.

In addition to possible interruptions to foreign and Chinese companies in China that operate with VPNs, research professionals and foreign residents will also be highly affected and surely to be up-in-arms. Beijing based vice president of the US-China Business Council commented, “This seems to impact individuals… VPNs are incredibly important for companies trying to access global services outside of China…in the past, any effort to cut off internal corporate VPNs has been enough to make a company think about closing or reducing operations in China. It’s that big a deal.”

Earlier this year one of China’s popular VPNs, GreenVPN, notified its users that it would be shutting down after “receiving a notice from regulatory departments”. Similar recent rumours have swept throughout China time and time again, causing fear and worry, and while this could yet again just be yet another case of Chinese Whispers, it could also be something that this time may actually come to fruition.

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