By Erik Crouch and Henry Williams
Image via @glenbledsoe
China’s recent VPN crackdown isn’t only limited to your laptop. The Great Firewall has long been blocking searches for some VPN apps on Apple’s App Store. But Apple, not to be out-gunned, have just switched connections to the App Store to the HTTPS protocol, a secure connection that is not simple to selectively filter. It’s not clear how long the secure connection has been available.
GreatFire.org, a site tracking online censorship in China, says it’s only a matter of time before this too gets blocked: “It is highly likely that the government have noticed this loophole in its censorship net, and is now trying to close it.”
Apple’s move comes just a week after the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that they would step-up regulation on the Android and iTunes App Stores – essentially creating a process to officially license apps – ostensibly to filter out malicious content, but also to remove VPNs.
Although Apple is currently putting up a fight, China is its second-largest market and the source of most of its products – so it certainly helps to be on good terms with the Chinese government. As TheNextWeb reports, “The end of a ‘Wild West’ gold rush era for mobile application developers in China could be near.” This has already been a hell of a week for internet regulation in China, and the VPN war, started during the party congress, rages on.