Switzerland-based VPN service Proton VPN has become the latest provider to shut down its servers in India, in protest of new rules in India that risk privacy.
Starting September 25, India's Computer Emergency Response Team, the agency regulating computer security, will require all VPN providers operating in India to collect information from their users', including names, IP addresses, and email addresses.
Additionally, the companies have to store the data for at least five years and provide it to the government when requested.
The agency argues that the rules are necessary to fight cybercrime, protect national security, and to defend the “sovereignty or integrity of India.”
According to Proton's Chief Executive Andy Yen, the rules compromise internet freedom and endanger people who would prefer to remain anonymous on the internet, like whistleblowers and activists.
“It's going to have a chilling effect. I find it really sad that the world's largest democracy is taking this path,” Yen said. He noted that “on paper India is supposedly taking a different path” from countries like Russia and China that have similar rules.
In recent months, multiple VPN providers have removed their servers in India, including ExpressVPN, Nord VPN, Surf Shark, IPVanish, Private Internet Access, and TunnelBear.
These providers, including Proton, will continue allowing users in India to use their services, but through servers in other countries. Yen said that Proton will provide Indian users with a routing service that will allow them to anonymously access the internet using Indian IP addresses.