Thanks to the highly controversial Indian government’s data collection law, passed in September 2022, it is now virtually impossible for VPN services to stay truly secure and guarantee privacy to their users. Many VPN companies, including giants like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Proton VPN, Tunnel Bear and many more pulled their services from India. By forcing VPN services to collect and store user data for five years, it violates the very No-Logs policy many respectable VPN services adhere to. Collecting names, IP addresses, internet activity sessions, traffic and location data, DNS queries goes against the very principle of Virtual PRIVATE Network.
Even though these measures were taken in order to tackle cybercrime, running rampant worldwide, but it jeopardizes user privacy as a concept. Any bit of information on any user can now just be pulled at any moment, whether he’s a law-abiding citizen or not. Besides affecting countless VPN services, this new policy affects cloud-based services too.
Millions of active VPN users
India Times reports that there are 270 million VPN users in the country, meaning that millions of users have VPN services for the purposes of unblocking georestricted content, bypass censorship and have a private internet sessions. All of these activities are now in jeopardy. It is important to note that VPNs have become increasingly popular in India in recent years due to website blocking, censorship, and geo-fencing to access streaming content not available in the country. The usage of VPNs among smartphone users reached 25.27 per cent in the first six months of 2021 from 3.28 per cent population in 2020, according to data extracted from Google Play Store and Apple App Store by Sensor Tower.
What information the Indian government can collect now?
The Indian government now requires that every VPN service stores certain information for 5 years and passes said information within 6 hours after being requested:
- User’s full name, their physical address, phone number and their email
- The IP addresses used to register and connect to a VPN service in India
- Every IP address connected to by a user
- The reason for using VPN
Are there still safe VPN services in India?
Fortunately, there are VPNs like ZoogVPN that do not have to send any information to the Indian government, as they operate outside the country and outside the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. ZoogVPN is a recommended VPN option for Indian users, as it offers a true No-Logs policy, a military-grade encryption, obfuscation feature (helpful for those who are located in highly-censored places like China or Russia), and external location. With ZoogVPN, Indian users can enjoy privacy and security while accessing the internet without worrying about their privacy.
How to download ZoogVPN in India?
It’s really simple. First, you need to download our app for your Android smartphone or iOS smartphone, your PC or a laptop. Once you’re done here, you sign up for our premium VPN service at the best price on the market, log in using your credentials and connect to a server you require. If you’re not feeling like investing in your security so far, you can try our VPN plan free of charge and access five different locations around the world, offering you access to multiple streaming services, secure browsing and a decent amount of monthly traffic. Join ZoogVPN today!
Is VPN legal in India?
Yes, VPN services are legal in India and can be used for different purposes. However, you should not use VPN in India if you’re planning on downloading copyrighted material like films, music, software from pirate networks and torrent trackers, as you can receive fine for it.
Internet censorship in India
In recent years, the Indian government has been criticized for its heavy-handed approach towards internet censorship, which has targeted not only political dissent but also content deemed obscene or offensive. In 2020, the government banned dozens of Chinese apps, citing national security concerns. Among many banned apps there were even games specifically made for India like Battleground Mobile India. However, critics argued that the move was more about economic protectionism than security, and that it violated the principles of net neutrality and free speech.
Another controversial aspect of internet censorship in India is the practice of website blocking. The government has the power to order Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to certain websites deemed harmful or offensive. This practice has been widely criticized for its lack of transparency and due process, and for the fact that it can be easily circumvented using tools like VPNs.
Furthermore, there have been reports of social media platforms being coerced into taking down content that the government deems offensive or seditious. In 2021, Twitter was embroiled in a high-profile dispute with the Indian government over its handling of tweets critical of the government’s handling of the farmers’ protests. The government demanded that Twitter take down hundreds of tweets and suspend several accounts, while Twitter argued that doing so would violate free speech principles.
In conclusion, while the new VPN policy in India aims to tackle cybercrime, it could potentially jeopardize user privacy. VPN companies operating within the country are required to store extensive customer data for at least five years, including identifiable information. VPN companies that chose to remain in India are obliged to send any piece of data requested by the Indian IT Ministry within 6 hours. However, ZoogVPN offers a secure and private way to access the internet without having to send any information to the Indian government. As such, ZoogVPN is a recommended VPN option for Indian users looking to ensure their privacy and security while accessing the internet.