Explained: Why is NordVPN removing its India servers? – The Indian Express

NordVPN has become the third virtual private network (VPN) provider to remove its servers from India in response to the country’s cybersecurity directive. It follows the likes of ExpressVPN and Surfshark who have already pulled their servers from the country in the aftermath of the rules. The norms, released by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in April, require VPNs to record and keep users’ logs for 180 days as well as store a range of information for five years.
“In the past, similar regulations were typically introduced by authoritarian governments in order to gain more control over their citizens,” NordVPN said in a statement. “If democracies follow the same path, it has the potential to affect people’s privacy as well as their freedom of speech. One way or another, this law will likely have a negative impact on people’s privacy and digital security.”
Why has NordVPN removed its India servers?

The Panama-based company said that due to the logging and storage requirement of the rules, “a VPN company with servers in India may no longer be able to guarantee privacy for its users”.
The firm is “concerned” about the possible effect this regulation may have on people’s data. “From what it seems, the amount of stored private information will be drastically increased throughout hundreds or maybe thousands of different companies. It is hard to imagine that all, especially small and medium enterprises, will have the proper means to ensure the security of such data,” it said.
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NordVPN will remove its servers on June 26, a day before the cybersecurity norms come into effect.
NordVPN is among the largest VPN providers globally, with more than 14 million users globally and more than 5,500 servers in 60 countries.
“As one of the industry leaders, we adhere to strict privacy policies, which means we don’t collect or store customer data. No-logging features are embedded in our server architecture and are at the core of our principles and standards. Moreover, we are committed to protecting the privacy of our customers. Therefore, we are no longer able to keep servers in India,” NordVPN said.
How have other VPN providers reacted?

Last week, Surfshark pulled its India servers, saying that the cybersecurity rules “go against the core ethos” of the company’s “no logs” policy.
Before that, ExpressVPN had removed its servers from the country, saying it “refuses to participate in the Indian government’s attempts to limit internet freedom”.
What are India’s rules related to VPNs?

The guidelines, released by CERT-In on April 28, asked VPN service providers along with data centres and cloud service providers to store information such as names, e-mail IDs, contact numbers, and IP addresses. among other things, of their customers for a period of five years.
While the government has said it wants these details to fight cybercrime, the industry argues that privacy is the main selling point of VPN services, and such a move would be in breach of the privacy cover provided by VPN platforms.
However, despite these concerns, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrashekhar had earlier said that VPNs who would not adhere to the rules are free to exit the country.
The rules will come into effect on June 27.
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What happens to Indian users of NordVPN?

The firm said that its Indian servers will remain until June 26, and in order to ensure that its users are aware of this decision, NordVPN will send notifications with the full information via its app starting 20 June.
While the firm is yet to announce how the move will impact its India users, other VPNs who have removed their servers said that they will service users in the country via virtual servers located in other countries.
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Soumyarendra BarikSoumyarendra Barik is a Principal Correspondent with The Indian Expres… read more

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