VPNs are used for much more than bypassing regional Netflix restrictions. In countries where free speech is obstructed by censorship, VPNs are an invaluable tool for people who want to communicate and use the Internet freely by bypassing oppressive government blockades. That’s why it’s only natural for a country like China, which has some of the most brazen censorship policies on the planet, to be working so hard to crack down on VPN services.
China is showing no sign of letting up on internet users who seek to hurdle its censorship system after it began imposing new restrictions on a popular censorship avoidance service in the country. Astrill, a paid-for VPN service that allows customers to access blocked sites and services from inside China on smartphones or desktop machines, warned users of its iOS app today that “increased censorship” is impinging on its functionality on iPhones and iPads. The company, which is registered in the Seychelles, is particularly popular with expats and businesses inside China. In its message to iOS users, Astrill said it is working on developing a new app for Apple’s upcoming iOS 9 mobile software which should “overcome this [latest] blockage.” The company did not respond to our request for comment, but the issue does not appear to be affecting Astrill’s other services. Other services do not appear to be affected by these issues — ExpressVPN confirmed to TechCrunch that its service is working unaffected.