Another one of the best VPN providers in the world has decided to phase out its Indian servers due to the imminent arrival of the insecure privacy law.
After ExpressVPN left India and Surfshark committed to taking down their servers, it’s time for Hide.me to leave the country on the grounds that India’s new data retention law “makes it impossible to operate a zero-log VPN”.
Slated to go into effect before the end of the month, India’s new CERT-In directives are set to force VPN companies to keep user data – such as IP addresses, real names and usage patterns – for up to five years. Providers will also need to be ready to hand over this information to authorities when requested.
“It is a shame that India has decided to implement this new law which is diametrically opposed to what a VPN should offer,” the provider wrote in a statement. blog post (opens in new tab).
Due to new laws in India regarding retention of user data which will take effect on June 27, 2022. We are disappointed to announce that VPN will be phasing out our Indian VPN servers. Questions? Answers in the blog below: https://t.co/F9nKZieMptJune 10, 2022
What does this mean for Hide.me users in India?
Unlike ExpressVPN and Surfshark, Hide.me does not plan to introduce virtual servers to protect users’ privacy.
This means that people in India will still be able to use their HIde.me subscription, but they will have to opt for one of their servers available outside the country. With up to 2,000 servers to choose from in 75 countries – some of which are in neighboring areas such as Vietnam and Indonesia – subscribers will still have plenty to choose from (opens in new tab).
The only difference is that Hide.me users will no longer be able to safely browse the network with a secure Indian IP. The provider told that they removed the server shortly after the announcement was released, so users can expect it to go offline sometime this week.
“We hope that over time this new law can be repealed and we can get back to operating servers in India,” the provider said.
What is India’s new data retention law?
VPN providers are not the only target of India’s new data retention law. Cloud storage services, virtual private servers (VPS), data centers and cryptocurrency exchanges will soon be affected by the new CERT-In regulations. In an attempt to fight cybercrime, these guidelines have raised many concerns across the tech industry and privacy advocacy groups.
In a country with media freedom kicking back (opens in new tab) and the infamy of recording more internet shutdowns than any other country (opens in new tab)experts and libertarians are concerned that such intrusive regulations could easily be misused to promote mass surveillance and undermine citizens’ civil liberties.
And it’s not just privacy concerns. India’s new data law is also believed to have a negative impact on its rapidly growing IT sector. As Future Market Insights COO Sudip Saha told : “VPN bans will primarily harm corporate interests, acting as a disincentive to invest and do business in India.”