Edited by: Justice After All (正义之师)
The CCP national security deliberately deploys a comprehensive cyber security compliance operation as “Cyberspace Clean Up 2020”, for the purpose of eliminating “illegal virtual private network (VPN)”. This regulatory operation bears the duties of “fighting against cyber-crime”, “instituting censorship on intrusive and harmful information”, and “supervising cyber security enforcement by internet service provider.”
Virtual private network (VPN) is a type of safeguard that creates an encrypted communication tunnel between a device and the internet. CCP is known for its internet restrictions by the Great Firewall of China. It can monitor and filter outgoing and incoming internet data in China. Under CCP’s stringent internet censorship, people undeniably want to protect their privacy and access websites from the real World Wide Web. The value of VPNs is very important in China because they help masking user’s identity and browsing history. However, there is a risk of entering into a cyber space anywhere in the world nowadays by using VPNs especially in China.
As critical as it is to protect personal data using VPNs in an oppressive environment created by CCP, VPNs are not absolutely unbreakable and safe. On one hand, the CCP strategically blocks the use of “non-legitimate” VPNs; on the other hand, the CCP deliberately allows designated VPN apps to be readily available in apps store, called “fishing VPNs”, the same concept as a trap. The existence of those VPNs is to catch internet users who want to sneak around the firewall. People need to be aware of the malicious “collaboration” between CCP and these VPN apps.
First, VPNs’ ownership and privacy policies are very alarming because there is no rule of law in China. It is almost impossible to remain anonymous because the digital footprints would be kept as VPN providers’ property. VPNs may keep logs of user-activity, transfer personal data or even sell user’s data to third partners in exchange of monetary compensation. Secondly, using the CCP government-approved VPNs that agree to the CCP’s supervision. All data generated in China will be duplicated or kept within the country’s borders where VPNs have to turn all data over to the CCP. In fact, individuals or companies in China who closely work with the CCP intelligence own a majority of free VPN apps. If these developers allow the CCP to scoop up sensitive user’s data for intelligence purposes, or develop backdoor access for the CCP intelligence, then the users’ privacy would be jeopardized and abused.
Following the typical pattern of CCP’s propaganda, it paints a picture of its effort to protect people from illegal VPNs and harmful information from accessing censored websites. It takes steps towards more robust regulations and measures to vigorously exploit its internet restrictions. The CCP is the one who control censorship and design anti-censorship toolkits for its cyber espionage purpose and mining data from internet users in China. In attempting to silence the opposing voice from the other side of the Great Firewall of China and strengthen its surveillance power within its borders, the CCP would continue to keep economic pressure on VPN companies to be in compliance with the CCP censorship guidelines. Until the Chinese people can stand up to the CCP’s authoritarian policy, fight back against the imposition of cyber censorship, and realize the truth hidden beyond the Great Firewall of China, no one can exercise their own freedom of press and freedom of speech even if they can use the most secured VPN apps in their devices.
Picture credit: YouTube channel by “Elementary Chinese” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW46sITSBz8