Russia Does a China on VPNs – Serves Notices to 10 Providers to Comply or End Operations
“Comply or Go Home.”
Friday 29th March 2019, Moscow: 10 VPN Providers were served notices by the Kremlin recently, asking them to route their services via the state controlled filtering mechanisms run by the country’s telecommunications regulation authority, Roskomnadzor.
If they fail to do so in the next 30 days, they will face an immediate ban along with high chances that the authorities might even force internet providers to cut off these VPNs from the internet.
However, this is not an isolated step towards controlling the fee internet by the authorities in Russia. Two years ago, Russia passed a law that made it mandatory for VPNs to not allow access to sites banned by the country. Another major stipulation defined in that same law asked VPNs to get registered with Roskomnadzor.
But, this recent move, in which VPNs like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, VyprVPN and Torguard among others were directly targeted, is being seen by many internet freedom activists as a major sign that President Putin now aims towards further strengthening the country’s internet firewall and make it similar to the one in place in China.
Russian Authorities Have Been In Favour of Controlling the Free Internet For a Long Time
There have many disturbing remarks as well on the same lines quite recently including one in which President Putin remarked on how he wanted a “Private Internet” for Russia, locked off from the real internet.
But even if such a thing happens or is put in to place, a good enough VPN can render it useless towards preventing the user from accessing whatever it wants to.
And that’s the same reason why authoritarian regimes all over the world including those in China, North Korea and now Russia, are going after VPNs, because this sophisticated internet tool remains the user’s only bargain to circumvent the stifling internet regulations in these countries.
VPNs In No Mood to Comply With the Order – Have Started to Move Out:
This new state order by Russia has already caused alarm in the VPN industry, with many providers like Torguard moving out their physical servers immediately from locations in the country out of fear that the authorities might move in to seize to these servers once the notice period expires.
As of now, there has been no official response on this issue from these 10 VPNs, who’ve been served notices, which apart from the ones mentioned already, include OpenVPN, IPVanish, Hola VPN, Kaspersky Secure Connection, VPN Unlimited and Hide My Ass!.
Important Note: This is an ongoing story and it can change from time. We will keep you updated with the latest information regarding this news as soon as there are fresh developments.