Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Amazon's China Partner Bans Use of VPNs by Customers Amid Ongoing Clampdown

Russia bans VPNs to stop users from looking at censored sites Russia's President Putin follows China on Crackdown on VPN Services with new Law Kicking in November 1
Garry Little | 03 August, 2017, 01:00

Russia's parliament gave the nod to the prohibition of the use of virtual private networks (VPN) which are often used for accessing web pages banned by the government.

Unlike in Russia, VPNs are still available in China but they require a license from the government. Initially, ExpressVPN said its "preliminary research" showed "that all major VPN apps for iOS have been removed".

ExpressVPN said at the time that it was "disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China's censorship efforts".

But Russia and China are far from the only countries in the world with far-reaching censorship laws.

"We believe in engaging with governments even when we disagree", he said.

However Cook did emphasize that in this situation the law is on China's side, unlike the Federal Bureau of Investigation iPhone unlocking saga past year where Cook reiterated that the law supported them.

Apple confirmed Sunday that it had removed software enabling users to maneuver the Great Firewall of China.

The move came at roughly the same time that Apple said it took down a number of apps from its China app store that help users vault the Great Firewall. We undertand those same requirements on other app stores, as we check through that's the case.

"We would obviously rather not remove the apps, but like we do in other countries we follow the law wherever we do business", he said.

The 19 Communist Party National Congress was also among the reasons as to why Chinese authorities have been tightening up on nearly everything, from internet browsing to live-streaming websites and social media.

"Cook recently said 'accessibility is a human right.' If Apple views accessibility as a human right, we would hope Apple will likewise recognize Internet access as a human right and would choose human rights over profits", wrote one service, Golden Frog, in its company blog post.

AWS representatives in the USA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the emails sent by Beijing Sinnet.

China announced its own crackdown on VPNs in January, and has given telecom companies until early next year to block access to them.

While Microsoft and Amazon both run cloud services in China, similar ones run by local Chinese internet rivals dwarf them in scale.

In an earnings call Tuesday, Cook said China tightened its rules on virtual private networks, or VPNs, in 2015 and was now making a renewed push to enforce them.

Due to the extensive censorship demands made on foreign internet companies, Google formally withdrew from China in 2010 - although since then, the company has had multiple discussions with the country's leadership about returning.

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