Every year Russia tries to crack down and cement total internet control. However, it’s proving hard to fill all the cracks as VPN users and proxy users remain anonymous with total internet control. The amount of laws and regulations to restrict internet use is becoming ridiculous. The bottom line is that Russia wants to kill privacy, and have total internet control–but so far, it’s not working. So now, the Putin Regime wants to impose fines to VPN users and restrict search engines to put a stop to the VPN floodgates.
In early 2017, the Russian government approved a law that mandated any operating VPN service had to be registered directly with the Russian government. Complying VPN services had to operate and give access only to websites within the blocked website register. A large majority of websites and app services are blocked in Russia–some of which provide encrypted communication access to citizens who value privacy–like Telegram, while some apps and services like Linkedin are simply banned because they store user data outside of Russia.
Thousands of IPs have been Blocked in Russia
However, after these tactics failed to work since most working VPNs like TorGuard did not comply, Putin and the government decided that a VPN ban was necessary. Only VPNs that handed over encryption keys would be allowed access–essentially making said VPNs completely useless for the end user. Since the start of 2018, a reported 50 VPNs have been banned in Russia for noncompliance.
VPN Growing by 1000% in Russia
The VPN ban so far hasn’t affected VPN use in Russia. In fact, VPN use in Russia has grown by a factor of 1000%. So far, Telegram and thousands of IPs have been blocked in 2018 after the government decided that it was being used by terrorists. However, Putin and the government are not satisfied yet, and want to raise the stakes by introducing new laws to further hamper VPN users.
New Bill Introduces Massive Fines and Search Engine Restrictions
If a user is caught using a VPN, they can be fined approximately $80 in rubies (5000), while government officials could be fined $800 in rubies (50,000), and businesses can be fined as much as $11,230 in rubies (700,000).
Additionally search engines have to comply to remove any search results that could help users find VPN services. Search engine providers who don’t comply can also face hefty fines. While this new bill hasn’t passed yet, it’s only a matter of time until it’s become part of Russia’s long stack of bills and regulations trying to strip away the privacy of the end user.
The new bill could have many potential areas for the Putin regime to lash out. If search engines companies like Google do not censor search results, they could be banned in Russia. Not only that but any tech website that has ever mentioned VPNs and how to use them could also be censored from Google.
However, since the law is so wide in scope, it’s hard to say how effective it can be when so many so far have failed to have any significant impact in the long term. Sure the Telegram ban had a massive impact, but it just showed more users how to take back control for themselves in by using VPN and proxy services.
If you’re in Russia and want access to a reliable VPN service, as always–you can rely on TorGuard to protect your privacy.