China’s government has told telcos to block individuals’ access to virtual private networks (VPNs) by February 1. According to sources to Bloomberg, state-run telcos like China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have been ordered to bar people from using VPNs – tools perceived as a loophole around the Great Firewall.
China’s access to the internet is an extremely restricted one, heavily censored with the intent of suppressing dissent. Plugging holes in the Great Firewall is in line with President Xi Jinping’s ‘cyber sovereignty’ campaign.
Businesses and corporations are reportedly exempt from this if they keep their VPN use internal, but they will have to lease lines with access to the internet as is known by the rest of the world, with their usage of such services registered for the record.
So while corporations can still access the free internet, it’s no dice for individuals, especially those who do not work for any corporation with corporate VPNs.