This Wednesday, a new law comes into effect allowing the Russian Kremlin government to control what Russians can and cannot access online. The only way to access the totality of the internet in the coming future is with a VPN that doesn’t comply with the Russian government, like TorGuard.
The new Russian law is the summation of many years of political posturing and internet control. Laws first started restricting internet freedom as far back as the mass protests of 2011, and in 2012 when citizens were disputing Putin election results. Ironically, the law is Vladimir Putin’s baby, and it’s expected to drastically affect free speech, journalism, and activism in Russia at a large scale.
Past examples of blocked content includes even music, like the band Pussy Riot, which the government categorizes as “extremist” content. Unfortunately, the future looks dire in terms of who is controlling the internet, as critics and spectators predict that Putin will extend his power next March of 2018 into a new campaign that could end as far away as 2024.
Eva Galperin, a director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation thinks that the new restrictions will proactively shift expression and freedom of speech. “If you’re thinking about taking the steps that you need to stay anonymous from the government, you think maybe it’s not worth it.” Earlier this month, other apps like Telegram were fined since they did not register with the government to provide them with logs and other information on user messages.
Starting 2018, other new laws apply to companies within Russia that requires them to store all of forms of logs in order to comply with anti-terror legislation which passed last year. Not only that but other Russian laws are still going after VPN companies that let users in Russia operate outside of these heavily enforced restrictions.
Any VPN operating with Russia that wants to remain legal has to comply with the Russian government to give up logs on users–essentially making VPNs worthless for privacy advocates and consumers who value internet rights. Fortunately, for Russian users using TorGuard, TorGuard operates outside of Russia, so we don’t have to comply with these jurisdictions.
We’ve made the comparison before, and others have also noted it as well. Russia is inching closer and closer to China’s goal of “internet sovereignty” or rather a government controlled internet.
Sarkis Darbinyan, a lawyer of the Digital Rights Centre, explains that “It’s the idea that the government should control the domestic part of the internet. Western countries do not support this concept and so what we are seeing today is an Asian-style development of the internet along the lines of China and Iran.”
However, Russia is still a bit behind China in terms of technical capabilities and technological implementation. Darbinyan makes a good case that Russia’s implementations of these laws might just be a bit more bold and aggressive, compared to countries like the US that prefer to act behind the scenes. “”Russia will frequently point to the fact that the FBI and (British Prime Minister) Theresa May want these powers as reasons why they should have them, and why they’re compatible with human rights.”
If you want the best internet access in Russia, with unrestricted websites and complete privacy, TorGuard VPN’s AES-256 encryption powered by unblockable Stealth VPN is your best option. We won’t be complying with the Russian government to block websites. Ever.