This was rumored
about a month ago, but now reports are coming out that the Pakistani government has issued orders to all ISPs in the country, telling them to block any user from using any "technology that would allow them to privately browse the internet."
The notice to ISPs specifically calls out VPNs, saying that they are illegal because they make it impossible to monitor. The Pakistani government insists that they really only mean that militants should be blocked, but that does not appear to be clear at all in the statement to ISPs. The report also notes that the Pakistani government has become more aggressive at blocking websites, including blocking all of Rolling Stone
, because someone in Pakistan didn't like a Matt Taibii article, and they're so clueless they can't figure out how to just block a URL.
In the meantime, we're wondering how various companies that rely on encrypted information, such as banks, will deal with the order, which pretty clearly says that the government has "prohibited usage of all such mechanisms including encrypted virtual private networks (EVPNs) which conceal communication to the extent that prohibits monitoring." Do they just ignore it? And will users give up their VPNs just because the government hates such security?