Chinese man imprisoned for selling VPN access

In June, China started vigorously enforcing its ban on VPNs, ordering mobile app stores to end access to VPN services that hadn't left a set of man-in-the-middle keys with the Chinese police.

Now, the Chinese courts have imprisoned a man from Dongguan in Guangdong province for providing un-back-doored VPN service. Deng Jiewei is 26 years old, and has sold VPN access since 2015; he had been detained in August 2016, and was convicted of "providing software and tools for invading and illegally controlling the computer information system" by the Supreme People's Court. He was sentenced to nine months in prison in March 2017, but the sentence was not made public until now.

Under new rules issued in March, people in Chongqing who use VPNs to access banned sites get a message on their computer telling them to disconnect, while those who generate profits of more than 5,000 yuan from using a VPN can be fined up to 15,000 yuan. VPNs are a popular way to skirt the Great Firewall by connecting to the internet outside the mainland. They allow users to access blocked sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and foreign news sites, which might carry information that is critical of the Communist Party.

The authorities announced a 14-month campaign to crack down on unauthorised VPN services in January. Some domestic VPN providers, such as GreenVPN, have been shut down. Approved VPN networks used by multinationals, however, have not been affected.

Man jailed for selling VPNs to evade China's 'Great Firewall'
[Nectar Gan/South China Morning Post]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: Ryan McLaughlin, CC-BY-ND)