New VPN rules: ExpressVPN removes its servers from India, other companies may pull out too

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New VPN rules: ExpressVPN removes its servers from India, other companies may pull out too
Representational image.ExpressVPN
  • ExpressVPN has announced that it has removed its servers from India.
  • This is in response to the Indian government's guidelines on storing user data.
  • ExpressVPN has said that users will still be able to use Indian IP addresses.
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ExpressVPN, one of the most popular virtual private network (VPN) providers, has announced removing its servers from India. This comes after the Indian government issued updated guidelines that made it mandatory for VPN service providers to store user data for a period of five years.

VPN service providers have said the guidelines issued by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) undermine users’ right to online privacy and are against such rules.

“With a recent data law introduced in India requiring all VPN providers to store user information for at least five years, ExpressVPN has made the very straightforward decision to remove our Indian-based VPN servers,” the company said in a blog post.

ExpressVPN slams new guidelines


ExpressVPN has not minced its words and has claimed that the new guidelines are “overreaching” and “open up the window for potential abuse”. It has also added that the company will not participate in the “government’s attempt to limit internet freedom”.

“We believe the damage done by potential misuse of this kind of law far outweighs any benefit that lawmakers claim would come from it,” the company added.

What is the directive from the Indian government?


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The directive issued by the government mandates VPN providers to maintain the following data as part of the know your customer (KYC) policy for a period of five years –

  • Validated name of subscriber
  • Period of hire
  • IPs allotted to the subscriber
  • Email address, IP address and time stamp used at the time of registration.
  • Purpose of hiring services
  • Validated address and contact numbers
  • Ownership pattern of the subscribers

Users will still be able to use Indian IP addresses


In relief to users, ExpressVPN has said that this will have no impact on the ability of users outside India to connect to Indian IP addresses. The company is using “virtual” Indian servers that are physically located in Singapore and the UK.

The company has claimed that there will be a minimal difference and users will be able to choose from India (via Singapore) and India (via UK) servers.

This will also have no impact on Indian users looking to connect to foreign servers.

“As for internet users based in India, they can use ExpressVPN confident that their online traffic is not being logged or stored, and that it’s not being monitored by their government,” the company said.
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ExpressVPN may not be the only company to exit India


ExpressVPN is likely the first among many VPN service providers to exit the Indian market. Companies like NordVPN and PureVPN have already said that it is not possible to comply with the government’s guidelines that come into effect from June 27 and are contemplating removing their servers from the country.
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