Hong Kong demand for VPNs surges on heels of China’s plan for national security laws

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

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Estonia passes ‘Huawei law’ for telecom security reviews

FILE PHOTO: A Huawei logo is seen on a device at a media event in London, Britain, February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

TALLINN (Reuters) – Estonia’s parliament approved on Tuesday a new Electronics Communications Act to ensure security reviews for telecom gear needed in the development of future networks.

The act, which lawmakers dubbed the “Huawei law” in reference to the Chinese telecommunications company, leaves detailed implementation to the government and includes intelligence services among the reviewing authorities.

European Union and trans-atlantic NATO alliance member Estonia shares the U.S. government’s security worries over new 5G networks. Washington has accused Huawei of spying on the West, allegations it denies.

“We must ensure that the communication services are offered using secure technology and a reliable provider,” said Andres Metsoja, head of parliament’s defence committee, in a statement.

The act did not mention any companies by name.

5G networks are at the centre

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Sony suspends PlayStation Store in mainland China to upgrade security

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Sony has suspended its PlayStation Store in mainland China saying it wanted to improve the online store’s security, in a move that will temporarily prevent it from selling games in the world’s largest video game market.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Sony PlayStation is displayed at Tokyo Game Show 2019 in Chiba, east of Tokyo, Japan, September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

PlayStation China announced the closure in a statement on its Weibo account on Sunday, saying it was for a “system security upgrade” without providing further details.

It also did not specify a reopening date.

The closure, however, comes on the heels of reports on social media that mainland PlayStation users were able to switch to overseas services via a backdoor and circumvent China’s restrictions to download unlicensed games.

Sony declined to comment on whether the reports had played a role in the closure and said

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Zoom pushes ahead on security, buying Keybase and reaching pact with New York

(Reuters) – Zoom Video Communications Inc pushed forward on Thursday in its effort to revamp its security, striking a deal with the New York attorney general’s office to protect users’ privacy and purchasing secure messaging startup Keybase.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Zoom logo is placed on the keyboard in this illustration taken April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The company, which has faced backlash for failing to disclose that its service was not fully end-to-end encrypted said it planned to develop tools that will give more controls to meeting hosts and allow users to securely join a meeting and submit them to external review.

Zoom has been one of the big beneficiaries of coronavirus lockdowns, with millions of workers and students using its video platform as they work and study from home.

The company said here it had bought Keybase, a secure messaging and file-sharing service, for an undisclosed price

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