We’ve covered Russian Internet censorship before on Russia banning VPNs and trying to restrict our usage in the country. Now, things are getting more serious in mid 2017 with hundreds of websites blocked at the ISP level. The reasons for blocked websites range from “illegal” content to the prevention of extremist activity. This has lead to a huge uptick in VPN users in Russia, and many are turning to TorGuard VPN services.
With TorGuard, you can unblock censored websites, but you can also encrypt your internet connection to prevent snooping or data logging. We use the strongest 256-AES ciphers and OpenVPN/OpenConnect protocols to ensure bulletproof security. It’s incredibly easy to use TorGuard and affordable, which means that Russian authorities are starting to take more notice. Authorities view VPNs as a defiance, and this week the draft bill was submitted to the State Duma–Russia’s lower house of the parliament, to move forward with VPN bans.
The bill intends to block VPN use by making it illegal to use a VPN to circumvent ISP enforced web blockades. The bill requires telecom providers like Roskomnadzor to keep a list of banned domains and softwares that can access them. In order to enforce VPN blockage, ISPs will identify services that enabling website unblocking and give a 30 day notice to stop unblocking activities. If the service provider fails to comply, that service will be blocked.
Russia also wants to force search engines from providing results that detail VPNs that let Russian users unblock content. “We believe that the laying of responsibilities on search engines is superfluous,” a spokesperson said. “Even if the reference to a [banned] resource does appear in search results, it does not mean that by clicking on it the user will get access, if it was already blocked by ISPs or in any other ways.”
TorGuard will not cooperate with Russian authorities and we will not block any websites. These requests have no authority in our legal jurisdiction. We believe that open and uncensored internet access is a modern day human right, and TorGuard will continue to offer anonymous Russian VPN services, in Russia. For us it is business as usual.