A large majority of the current internet community loves to use messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and signal. But, why do people love these apps?
Well, they are free, and the convivence factor is important too–since most of these apps work on PC and phones. You don’t have to be super privacy literate or good with computers to have your messages hidden with an app like Telegram. It’s why a good chunk of people use these apps–they provide a decent layer of privacy and encryption to keep snoopers out.
But since these apps give users anonymity, and a platform to communicate outside of the public eye, they have also drawn attention from governments. Many countries like Australia are seeking to gain access to encryption keys or trying to force the companies behind these apps to design backdoors. But perhaps more egregious than any so far—besides China, is Russia.
The Russian government is now coming up with new strategies in order to retain complete surveillance over its population. Previously the Russian government tried to force Telegram to give up encryption keys so that they could read user messages–however, the company behind the messaging app of the same name said that no such keys exist.
As a result, the government decided to block IP addresses associated with Telegram which caused Telegram users issues when accessing the service. The IP ban was essentially a “shotgun” blast, in that it also affected and blocked a ton of other services using similar IP ranges. Suffice to say, there has been a ton of criticism with how this went down.
Now, the Russian Government is seeking a new approach by using deep packet inspection. If all goes well, Russian telecom companies will soon be required to implement new surveillance and content-censoring technology that will intercept messages sent on prohibited messaging apps.
Deep packet inspection is a massive surveillance technique that costs millions of dollars, and it’s no simple feat. However, when implanted, it can be effective. We’ve seen China use it at a massive scale, which has caused most VPNs and popular websites to be eradicated. Now it appears Russia wants to follow in the same footsteps.
The way Deep Packet Inspection works is that traffic is examined on the packet level, in which it is then filtered, located, blocked, or rerouted. The new tech would block IP addresses and theoretically allow them to block the use of popular messaging apps.
The new DPI technology is rumored to cost upward of $291 million dollars, which is going to be funded by the very people using the apps.
BBC reports that ““A source close to one of the development companies claims that the blocking equipment will be procured at public expense and installed on the networks of large operators at key points of the Russian net”.
Want to bypass DPI monitoring and website blocks? TorGuard offers multiple Stealth VPN protocols that appear as regular SSL traffic and cannot be blocked by DPI scanners.