Russia Considers Ban On Tor, VPN Networks
Russia’s state parliament the Duma is considering banning VPNs
if they do not agree to block access to online content blocked by the government. As reports Russian local news media, deputies are considering giving access to the state register of banned websites and obliging VPN operators to block them. The state communications regulator Roskomnadzor would be responsible for instigating the plans, which are currently at the first level of consideration.
“Should they refuse, the authors of the bill would impose a 30-day ban on such services,” Lenta reports. Separate initiatives are targeting mirror sites of those banned, as well as search engines of any sort, which would be required to remove certain content from results presented to Russian users. Roskomnadzor routinely blocks websites for Russian IP addresses, yet this often appears haphazard in its implementation, with sites disappearing and reappearing at random intervals.
Last year, popular cryptocurrency resource Localbitcoins was able to circumvent its ban in Russia using the Localbitcoins.net mirror site, something which in future might theoretically no longer be possible. The country has reversed its stance on cryptocurrency itself recently, going from suspicious to supportive in a matter of months. The bill’s creators also made reference to the Tor browser, arguing the methods of banning content nowadays were “ineffective.” It is not understood how lawmakers would go about imposing a ban on Tor itself.