A digital Iron Curtain has been steadily rising into position around the cyber borders of Russia for years now, all in an effort to block contact and content from the rest of the online world. In their latest move, Russian lawmakers adopted legislation to impose steep penalties on citizens caught utilizing ‘anonymizing’ privacy tools to circumvent government-sanctioned censorship.
Under this new legislation, individuals who post information or links related to privacy services face fines as high as 5,000 rubles (USD $80). Search engines which fail to align themselves with the Federal State Information System blacklist may result in fines as high as 700,000 rubles (USD $11,300).
Once Roskomnadzora, the media and communications warden for Russia, receives word of a website hosting illegal content, the agency will demand the unsanctioned information be removed. Should the information still be freely available two days after the request, Russian ISPs will block access to the site.
Any VPN services which want to remain active must compromise their morals by forking over user logs and credentials, rendering their service ineffective.
We expect this deterrent will be about as effective as Putin’s ban on Telegram and VPN services in general — that is, not very. Netizens and Internet freedom fighters around the world are accustomed to evasion games, most notably due to the perpetual gauntlet of atrocious Chinese VPN restrictions. Like China, the Russian government is notoriously draconian about personal freedoms.
But VyprVPN has successfully tackled government aggression in China. In fact, we are the most revered VPN service in the region as a result — and we intend to fight the Kremlin’s assault on Internet freedom with the same ferocity for our Russian users. VyprVPN remains accessible from Russia, though Putin seems insistent on captaining Russia down the similar authoritarian waterways online as his Chinese neighbors.
Learn more about Golden Frog’s mission for a free and open Internet.