China’s new National Security law means they can now seize VPN servers in Hong Kong without a warrant. Currently 2 VPN services close Hong Kong VPN servers.
Private Internet Access and Tunnel Bear are the first 2 VPN services to shutdown their VPN servers based in Hong Kong. This is due to a new National Security Law in China that allows authorities to seize servers without the need of a warrant.
VPN services are all about privacy and not logging any data of its users or it’s activity. which is why this new legislation is a big concern for VPN companies.
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Any VPN service that is based in, or has servers in Hong Kong will now be forced to hand over its servers to authorities without any legal requirements such as warrants.
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As it stands, Tunnel Bear and PIA VPN are the only 2 providers to close their Hong Kong based servers.
They are focusing on increasing the server capacity in other areas of China to accommodate the shutdown of their Hong Kong based servers.
Tunnel Bear announce the shutdown of Hong Kong Server
In a recent tweet, Tunnel Bear announced the news;
Hong Kong users will still be able to connect to the Hong Kong servers, however the focus is on increasing the capacity of other Chinese cities.
“We will reinstate the Hong Kong server if and only if our users’ privacy and safety will be protected,”
Also confirmed by Tunnel Bear
Under China’s new security law for Hong Kong, local authorities now have broad powers to crack down on political dissent in the city, and jail activists with life imprisonment. According to the BBC, people suspected of breaking the law can also be wire-tapped and put under surveillance.
As a result, Hong Kong internet users have been reaching to VPN services to protect their online privacy.
Many residents have been engaging in self-censorship, and purging past statements they’ve made on social media on fears Chinese authorities will use the content to one day prosecute them.
For now, US companies such as Facebook and Twitter are hitting pause on responding to data requests from Hong Kong law enforcement.
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We expect to see more announcements from other VPN providers, but we will update you as the story unfolds.
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