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China to Shut Down All Personal VPNs by 2018

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China is ordering the country's three biggest cellular carriers -- indeed, three of the biggest cellular carriers in the world -- to block users from accessing VPNs in the first place, reads a Bloomberg report.

According to Bloomberg's sources, state-run carriers China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have until February 1 to keep people from using VPN technology. VPNs allow Chinese citizens to evade the country's so-called "Great Firewall," a filter that blocks news sites and social networking tools (including Twitter and Facebook).

The report didn't say if other internet service providers would also be affected by the ban, but if you add up the numbers for China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, they account for over 1.3 billion subscribers combined. 

Representatives for China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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