ProtonVPN announced that it has pulled all its VPN servers out of India, citing the government’s imminent introduction of strict censorship rules aimed at revealing who is behind VPN accounts. However, Indian customers will still be able to use Indian IP addresses through virtual servers based in Singapore supplied by ProtonVPN.
The rules, put together by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in a bid to fight cybercrime, will force VPNs—among other computer service providers—to implement know-your-customer protocols. This includes registering each user’s full name, address and telephone number, as well as customer activity while using the network.
This flies directly in the face of what VPNs are supposed to do, so it’s small wonder, then, that ProtonVPN—among others—is leaving India. The only way to avoid the restrictions is to abandon any presence in India, which includes servers. That said, users can still sign on and use the service from India, they just won’t be able to use servers based in the country.
However, ProtonVPN seems intent on making sure that their customers can still anonymously use the internet with Indian IP addresses. To do so, it will “replace” its abandoned Indian servers with Indian IPs on virtual servers in Singapore using what it calls “smart routing.” ProtonVPN users will still be able to spoof Indian IPs, they’ll just be doing so through Singapore instead of somewhere on the subcontinent.
ProtonVPN’s decision to give up its Indian servers is the latest in an exodus of VPN providers. ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN, to name just three, upped sticks back when the new VPN crackdown was announced in June.