In Free Speech Crack Down, China Jails Man for Selling VPNs

By NTK Staff | 09.05.2017 @11:48am
In Free Speech Crack Down, China Jails Man for Selling VPNs

Virtual private networks (VPNs) allow users to access sites like Facebook and YouTube, which are blocked in China.

A Chinese man was arrested for illegally selling virtual private networks (VPNs), a tool used by some Chinese citizens to avoid the watchful eye of government monitoring in that country.

Deng Jiewei is serving a nine-month jail sentence, according to the BBC, for selling VPNs from late 2015 until his arrest in August 2016.

The Chinese government operates a massive monitoring system, known as the “great firewall”, that watches what people do and say online. It also blocks access to sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, that are popular outside the country. 

Many people in China have used VPNs to skirt the restrictions and visit blocked sites.

A VPN securely directs browsing traffic to off-shore servers so people can browse the web unimpeded.

Earlier this year, U.S. company Apple, who moved most of its manufacturing to China more than a decade ago, capitulated to the Asian nation’s VPN shutdown demands. Critics blasted Apple for the move, noting that the tech company was eager to criticize the U.S. government for a variety of issues but unwilling to do so with China, a known human rights abuser.

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