Recently, there has been a series of crackdowns on VPNs around the world. Apple made headlines when it agreed to remove a number of VPNs from its App Store in China, defending the move by saying it must abide by the laws in each country in which it operates. Previously, Chinese police have also tracked down creators of VPNs, confronting them at home and demanding they take down their VPNs. Rather than putting an outright ban on VPNs, China is rolling out restrictions that require VPNs to get a license, allowing them some room to operate but giving the government increased control to crackdown further in the future.
Meanwhile, Russia has also banned VPNs that don’t comply with regulations. Some VPNs can still operate, but only if they block websites blacklisted by the government, taking away the ability to provide universal web access. The law drew criticism from human rights groups and even Edward Snowden who is currently being granted asylum by Russia. Experts note it will be close to impossible to universally enforce these restrictions but that it allows the government to prosecute VPN users at any time.