VPNs are designed in part to protect user rights. At Avast, we remain committed to doing all we can to provide our users with secure and private access to the internet.
Earlier this year, the Indian government announced new legislation which requires virtual private network (VPN) operators to store user data for a period of five years as part of a crackdown on digital privacy rights. Nonetheless, Avast continues to protect its users’ privacy both in India and around the world. India’s new directive, originally due to come into force last month, has now been postponed until September 25, 2022.
Unlike several of our competitors, Avast has never had VPN technology infrastructure in India. Instead, all of our Indian Avast SecureLine VPN users connect through our servers in Singapore and are provided a virtual IP address in India.
That distinction is important.
The Indian government’s VPN directive makes clear that any cloud service, data center, VPS provider or VPN provider that operates in India and has technology infrastructure in the country is bound by its data retention laws. Several of Avast’s competitors have been forced to move their physical servers out of India and take the same approach as Avast by utilizing virtual servers physically located in another country to stay out of scope of India’s laws. Avast has made no changes to its service and all existing Indian users can continue to use Avast SecureLine VPN as they always have with no interruption, regardless of whether or not they’re using an Indian IP address.
The use of virtual servers in Avast SecureLine VPN carries several benefits. As in the case in India, we can place our physical servers in countries that are committed to data privacy and digital rights, all the while being able to offer our services to those who are living in countries where local laws do not afford similar protections to the privacy of their citizens. Virtual VPN servers are also speedy and don’t suffer from any lag, making them ideal choices for delivering our VPN service to our users.
India’s new directive is yet another concerning development in the arena of global privacy and digital rights. India will require any VPN provider to store users’ real names, IP addresses, the purposes for which they’re using their VPN, and a variety of other data points that pave the way for the government to know exactly what people who are actually seeking privacy are doing on their machines.
The Indian government says that its efforts are aimed at fighting cybercrime, but it’s hard to see how that adds up. India’s directive instead erodes users’ digital freedom, violates user privacy and makes it harder for India’s internet users to achieve the privacy they deserve.
Indeed, VPNs are designed in part to protect user rights. And at Avast, we remain committed to doing all we can to provide our users with secure and private access to the internet.
Our users in India can rest assured that Avast SecureLine VPN will never track their connecting IP addresses, DNS queries, browsing information or history, or transferred data. See Avast’s VPN Policy for information that we require in order to provide you with a VPN service. Avast is committed to contributing our expertise to give back to society. We do this by championing the mission of protecting digital freedom and privacy as a fundamental human right.
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