Virtual private network (VPN) service providers are up in arms against a new directive of The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team or Cert-In, a wing of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- The new directive mandates they must maintain all customer data for five years.
- VPN service providers have said the new directive would mean a total loss of privacy for the users–one of the most important unique selling points of such services.
What is an ‘IP Address’?
- Any and all devices connected to the internet are a part of a large network of computers, servers and other devices spread across the world.
- To identify each device connected to the internet, service providers globally assign a unique address to each such device called the internet protocol address or IP address.
- It is this IP address that helps websites, law enforcement agencies and even companies track down individual users and their accurate location.
What is a ‘Virtual private network’?
- A virtual private network, when switched on, essentially creates a safe network within the larger global network of the internet and masks the IP address of the user by rerouting the data.
- Acting as a tunnel, a VPN takes data originating from one server and masks it in a different identity before delivering it to the destination server. In essence, a VPN creates several proxy identities for your data and delivers it safely without disturbing the content of the data.