A little more than a week after WhatsApp users in China started facing issues, the Chinese government has imposed a ban on VPNs as Apple recently took down all of its VPN apps from the App Store in the country.
Popular social networking services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and many more are already banned by the Great Firewall of China and WhatsApp might soon join the list.
The crackdown on VPN services on the Apple app store confirms that the government is looking to control how their citizens use the internet.
Following the new cyber security law implemented last month, the government has been on a spree to stop services that they can not really control.
Social networks aren’t the only ones feeling the brunt of the situation as credible news publications such as The New York Times, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and more are also blocked in the country, as are video streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube.
All of Google’s services, including their search engine is banned in the country and this has given more room for indigenous tech companies to gain popularity.
“We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts. ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties,” one of the affected VPN services, Express VPN, stated.
Although VPN services have currently only been banned from the Apple app store, this indicates towards a wider crackdown that will affect users on other platforms.
Internet users in China will still be able to access VPN services on other platforms such as Windows, Mac, Android and others.
“Our commitment to an open and free internet remains stronger than ever, and we will continue the fight in helping our users to stay connected, no matter where they are located,” Express VPN added.
Apple cited that the main reason to remove these apps was that they failed to follow the new government regulations and this removal will not affect the apps’ business in other markets where they are and will remain available on iOS.
— Star VPN (@star_vpn) July 29, 2017