Law surrounding VPNs murky

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-8-17 9:04:00

By Craig Curtis

Legal experts have sought to clarify regulations surrounding the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) - which allow users to make a secure connection to computers based overseas to reach content inaccessible from the Chinese mainland - as a Shanghai-based blog has put 10 free one-year-long subscriptions up for grabs.

Zhang Xiaoyu, former chief of the Internet and News Administration of the Shanghai Municipal Information Office told the Global Times that, while providing VPNs for corporate use is legal on the Chinese mainland, it is illegal to provide them to individual users for the purpose of accessing blocked websites freely. However, purchasing VPN services from companies based overseas is not prohibited.­­ "But the content surfed must comply with Chinese laws," he said.

The VPN subscriptions being offered by the blog, ChinaHush, are provided by a US-based company, which is also a sponsor of the website.

Philip Wan of Beijing Yingke Law Firm's Shanghai office said that current Chinese law on VPN usage is rather abstract. "The law prohibits Internet content that is against the Chinese nation, and pornographic and violent websites," he said.

Posted in: Society, Metro Shanghai

blog comments powered by Disqus