A VPN enables people to access the internet securely, and allows them to view content that may be blocked in their jurisdiction [File]
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

Privacy-focused tech solutions provider, Proton, shared that it would be providing free virtual private network (or VPN) servers “in countries with a history of censorship or political interference,” according to a company blog post published on Wednesday.

India was not included on the list of 15 countries mentioned by the company, which included neighbours Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Other countries that will receive the free VPN servers include Turkey, Indonesia, Algeria, and Venezuela.

“To ensure that everyone can access accurate, reliable, and trustworthy information, Proton VPN will make VPN servers available for free two weeks before elections in several countries with histories of misinformation and censorship. These servers will continue to be free for a week after the elections as well,” stated Proton, adding this could be extended as needed.

A VPN enables people to access the internet securely, and allows them to view content that may be blocked in their jurisdiction. Proton said its VPN uses servers in neighboring countries to simulate the IP address of the target country and maintain users’ privacy.

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The company pointed to the emergence of deepfakes in Bangladesh, Taiwan, and Pakistan before the elections, as well as government crackdowns on social media platforms in Pakistan and Senegal. Proton also noted that Rwanda and Turkey had governments that promoted “sophisticated censorship and misinformation campaigns in the past.” It claimed that VPN access would allow people to reach necessary information without having to pay for it.

India in 2022 demanded that VPN companies collect customer data and store it. In response, several companies relocated their physical servers that were based in the country. Proton VPN was one of them, per The Wall Street Journal.



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