Russia's New Law Outlaws VPNs That Unblock Censored Sites

By Tom Pritchard on at

With all the talk of how our government likes to meddle with the internet (a topic they've proven themselves incapable of understanding) we have it pretty good in this country. Not like in Russia, where censorship is rampant. To the point where the government has started cracking down on VPNs and other services that let internet users unblock forbidden websites.

As many of you will no doubt be aware, VPNs can be used to spoof your location online - granting access to websites that have been deliberately blocked by your ISP. But like China, this idea doesn't sit well with the Russian government, and the new law (which comes into effect today) gives it extra power to maintain internet blocks.

VPNs themselves are not specifically banned, but the law says that all VPN providers have to maintain blocks on websites that are deemed unsuitable by communications watchdog Roskomnadzor. If the VPN provider refuses to comply or register itself within the next month, Roskomnadzor will simply block the service. Registered providers are then obliged to block any sites within three days of them being added to Roskomnadzor's censorship list.

The new law also forces messaging services to link users with their phone numbers, which are linked to individuals' passports. Services are also required to block users who "disseminate illegal information". These new rules also come one month after the government forced search engines to stop displaying results for blocked websites. [Moscow Times via TechRadar]

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