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ExpressVPN rejects CERT-In directions, removes servers in India

With a recent data law introduced in India requiring all VPN providers to store user information for at least five years, ExpressVPN has made the very straightforward decision to remove our Indian-based VPN servers.

Rest assured, our users will still be able to connect to VPN servers that will give them Indian IP addresses and allow them to access the internet as if they were located in India. These “virtual” India servers will instead be physically located in Singapore and the UK.

In terms of the user experience, there is minimal difference. For anyone wanting to connect to an Indian server, simply select the VPN server location “India (via Singapore)” or “India (via UK).”

Virtual server locations are not new to ExpressVPN; in fact, we have been operating our “India (via UK)” server location for several years. With virtual locations, the registered IP address matches the country you have chosen to connect to, while the server is physically located in another country. Virtual locations are used, where necessary, to provide faster, more reliable connections.

As for internet users based in India, they can use ExpressVPN confident that their online traffic is not being logged or stored, and that it’s not being monitored by their government.

Fighting for your privacy, in India and beyond
As countries’ data retention laws shift, we frequently find ourselves adjusting our infrastructure to best protect our users’ privacy and security. In this case, that has meant ending operations in India.

Under India’s new VPN rule, which is set to come into effect on June 27, 2022, companies will be required to store users’ real names, IP addresses assigned to them, usage patterns, and other identifying data.

The new data law initiated by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), intended to help fight cybercrime, is incompatible with the purpose of VPNs, which are designed to keep users’ online activity private.

The law is also overreaching and so broad as to open up the window for potential abuse. We believe the damage done by potential misuse of this kind of law far outweighs any benefit that lawmakers claim would come from it.

ExpressVPN refuses to participate in the Indian government’s attempts to limit internet freedom. As a company focused on protecting privacy and freedom of expression online, we will continue to fight to keep users connected to the open and free internet with privacy and security, no matter where they are located.

We will never collect logs of user activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We also never store connection logs, meaning no logs of IP addresses, outgoing VPN IP addresses, connection timestamps, or session durations.

Essentially, we do not store or collect any data that could identify an individual and their online activity. We outline this in our highly detailed and transparent Privacy Policy.

Not only is it our policy that we would not accept logging, but we have also specifically designed our VPN servers to not be able to log, including by running in RAM. Data centers are unlikely to be able to accommodate this policy and our server architecture under this new regulation, and thus we will move forward without physical servers in India.

CT Bureau

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