China Warns Popular Websites to Stop Selling VPN-Related Products

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As reported by Reuters, authorities in China have issued a warning to the most popular e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba Holding Group LTD Taobao.com about the sale of the illegal VPNs that let users bypass state censorship controls.

These five websites have been asked to immediately begin self-examining and correction so to remove vendor that sell these illegal VPNs, as it has been said by China’s top cyber regulator, the Zhejiang provincial branch of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

Some of the websites in question have been issued an order to stop new user registrations, suspend services and punish the staff accountable for the sale of the illegal goods.

The regulator said this Thursday that CAC has given an order to the five websites to instantly carry out a thorough clean-up of dangerous information, close corresponding unauthorized accounts and submit a rectification report by a deadline.

This is just yet another measure in the series that China has taken in order to secure the Internet and keep strict control over the shared content. Surveillance is planned to get tightened before the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party happens later this year.

In the recent time, China has announced their investigation of the top social media sites in the country, such as WeChat and Weibo, and as a reason put the fact the sites failed to comply with cyber laws. There have already been cases in the past when it has taken down popular celebrity gossip social media accounts and furthered restrictions on the type of news that can be produced and distributed by online platforms.

This is just a follow up to their campaign to remove VPN apps from the country. Earlier this summer, regulators have shut down dozens of local VPNs and sent out an order to Apple to clean their App Store of similar apps, as well as other app stores and providers of foreign VPNs that gave access to users to content normally banned to China’s residents.

Another law has been passed by the country and is expected to come into effect in early 2018, that will need telecommunications providers and tech firms to do more for removing the VPNs from the country.

On Chinese online marketplaces, vendors sell a range of tools to set up personalized VPNs that are more difficult to track and block than some other services.

An Alibaba spokeswoman said that Taobao forbids the listing or sale of any products that are forbidden by applicable law and continued by adding that they firm screens and removes product listings from third-party sellers which violate their marketplace rules.

The other sites among the five that have been noted include women-focused social shopping network Mogujie and entertainment platforms Xiami and Peiyinxiu. The date of the deadline by which the companies need to do what they’re asked of hasn’t been set.

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