Man punished for using VPN

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A man in southern China received administrative punishment after he used VPN to watch porn. 

The man, surnamed Chen, was apprehended by the local police in the city of Jinshi, located in Hunan province. The police said Chen was using an app called Shadowrocket

While VPNs and Shadowsocks encrypt internet traffic, authorities suggested they were still able to figure out what Chen was browsing. 

Police said Chen’s main crime was accessing pornographic websites, according to the media report, which cites a now-deleted WeChat post from the city’s public security bureau.

Police didn’t say how they discovered Chen’s online activities. But encryption isn’t necessarily enough to protect users depending on where that data is going. Shadowrocket doesn’t provide any servers itself, just the software used to connect to them.

Authorities didn’t say what Chen’s punishment was, but the Jinshi police hinted at what it could be. 

They said that people using their own channels to access international networks could be fined up to 15,000 yuan (US$2,142). Those that sell the service could even face prison time.

Some people have already been arrested for selling VPN services in China. A man was arrested for it in 2017, where he was sentenced to five and a half years in prison and fined US$76,000. 

Police said another man, arrested earlier this year, made US$1.6 million from selling VPNs since 2016.

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