The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has sought a ban on VPN (Virtual Private Network) services in India over fears of cyber-attacks and other illegal activities.
The panel said VPN services are easily available online and allow “criminals to remain anonymous online”, and thus the government should block these services with the help of internet service providers (ISPs) “to put a check on the… dark web.”
VPN creates a link between the user and the ISP via an encrypted channel, preventing the tracking of the user and his online behaviour. It hides the IP address and allows users to access content that is blocked in the country while staying anonymous online. VPN services also enable companies in India to safeguard their networks from hackers.
The committee has asked the Union Home Ministry to boost surveillance mechanisms by improving and developing advanced technologies to monitor the use of VPN.
“The committee notes with anxiety the technological challenge posed by VPN services and Dark Web, that can bypass cyber security walls and allow criminals to remain anonymous online. As of date, VPN can easily be downloaded, as many websites are providing such facilities and advertising them.
The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Ministry of Home Affairs should coordinate with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to identify and permanently block such VPNs with the help of internet service providers,” the panel said in a report to the Rajya Sabha.