ProtonVPN announced that it has pulled all of its VPN servers from 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 Singapore-based virtual servers provided by ProtonVPN.
The rules, drawn up by the Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) in a bid to combat cybercrime, will force VPNs, among other IT service providers, to implement know-your-customer protocols. This includes recording each user’s full name, address, and phone number, as well as customer activity while using the network.
This goes directly against what VPNs are supposed to do, so it’s no surprise, then, that ProtonVPN, among others, is leaving India. The only way around the restrictions is to abandon any presence in India, which includes servers. That said, users can still log in and use the service from India, they just won’t be able to use servers located in the country.
However, ProtonVPN seems intent on making sure that its customers can still use the internet anonymously 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 “intelligent routing.” ProtonVPN users will still be able to spoof Indian IPs, they will only do so through Singapore instead of somewhere in 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, all got better when the new VPN crackdown was announced in June.