As if VPN bans weren’t bad globally already–with Apple recently removing VPN apps from the app store in China, now Russia looks to be finally cracking down on VPNs. The reason being that more and more Russians are using VPNs to circumvent firewall restrictions that block popular websites.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, just signed a law that bans any technologies that are used to visit blocked websites. This includes VPNs and proxies. This new law will officially take effect on November 1st, 2017.
In 2014, Russia passed a law that required companies to store Russian user data on Russian-based servers. For companies based in Russia this had a huge impact, and since then, it has created fear in Russian users that their data is being monitored and collected (it is). This means that many Russian users have turned to companies like TorGuard that operate outside Russian jurisdiction that still enable access to blocked websites. But now with the VPN ban, things might be getting a bit “tricky”.
The new Russian law meant to ban VPNs and proxies is designed to be implemented against “illegal content” rather than to protect government censorship. It’s to combat criminals using VPNs, and to protect users from content or applications and services that can hurt the government. Because hey, it’s not like there is tons of un-breakable open-source encryption software that terrorists can’t use right?
As we’ve seen in China, the UAE, Iran, and even Australia (trying to end encryption as we know it)–we know that power of the internet is increasingly being more about control rather than about actually protecting user security.
When governments like Russia increase their surveillance powers to this level, more and more data is collected that becomes vulnerable. Additionally, security and backdoor techniques developed in these censorship situations are often leaked to criminals who can easily wreak havoc.
It was just recently that protesters took to the streets in Russia to protest these policies that will go into effect on November 1st.
While Russia does seem adamant about implementing this VPN ban, we question the effectiveness of their campaign, as well as the money spent, against free internet use. Just like in China, there are always ways to use VPN in Russia with the right VPN.
With TorGuard, you can unblock websites in Russia due to our advanced Stealth VPN technology which won’t register as standard “VPN traffic”. Instead, when you use TorGuard, the Russian firewall or whatever deep packet inspection techniques they are using, won’t be able to tell you’re using VPN at all since our Stealth VPN makes your VPN use appear like normal SSL web traffic.