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  • Avast announces that its VPN server will move out of Hong Kong

    Time: Jul. 29, 2020

    Hong Kong's new national security law has sparked excitement among all tech companies operating in the region, including VPN service providers. China, on the other hand, enters the "special administrative region" and asks the authority to verify everything, and that obviously does not work well with data protection companies.


    While some VPN providers have decided to take a risk operating simple servers in Hong Kong, others are packing and moving the supporting infrastructure as soon as possible. Avast took the latter approach and announced that it would temporarily move its VPN servers and business out of Hong Kong.


    As the company explains, the new legislation passed in Hong Kong essentially makes private VPN products essentially illegal. Avast prefers to redirect traffic to Hong Kong through Singapore and Taiwan instead of satisfying absurd demands or the risk of espionage. As you noted, this is a temporary measure that was taken as part of the precautionary measure. Once law enforcement has been evaluated, companies in the area can be reopened.


    The extent to which the Chinese government is prepared to dive into VPN traffic remains a burning question for all providers, but some prefer to find the answer through others.


    For users of Hong Kong-based Avast (Avast SecureLine VPN, AVG Secure VPN and HMA), it is obvious that forwarding traffic through Taiwan and Singapore is not an ideal solution and you will notice delays and hiccups.


    However, the connection is encrypted and all Internet domains remain uncensored and accessible to you. Avast views this as a necessary precautionary step in which performance is negotiated against the protection of user privacy.


    If the Chinese government proves to be too intrusive and imposes data retention policies on Hong Kong-based VPN providers, many companies will upgrade their infrastructure in Taiwan. The problem with this scenario is the geography of the region and the fact that Taiwan is about six hundred kilometers from Hong Kong. No matter how good the Taiwanese infrastructure is, there will always be noticeable losses in speed.


    Another thing that is lost in this case is access to content that is only available in Hong Kong. However, these should be easier to swallow.


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