HONG KONG (Reuters) – Demand for virtual private networks in Hong Kong surged more than six-fold last Thursday as Beijing proposed tough new national security laws for the financial hub, reflecting concerns over internet privacy, according to a VPN provider.
Atlas VPN said installations of the tool that helps people bypass web restrictions surged again on Friday, up more than three-fold from the previous day, while search interest in the keyword term “VPN” rocketed 1,680% on May 21 from a day earlier.
Search interest in the word “VPN” hit a record high on Friday, it added, citing data from Google Trends.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and is governed under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees it a high degree of autonomy not seen in mainland China, including freedom of expression.
The former British colony also enjoys unrestricted internet access, unlike on the mainland where