Putin has signed a new law that increases internet censorship dramatically and has been marked as the beginning of the Russia VPN ban, but does the new law actually ban and perhaps punish VPN use as some English language news sites are reporting? Will Russian VPN users find their connections randomly dropped, the way that Chinese VPN users have suffered under the Great Firewall of China for years? There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding how the Russia VPN ban will be technologically implemented and how the Great Firewall of Russia will be built. That largely stems from too-general reporting that the law is a blanket ban on VPN technologies as opposed to a block to the websites of proxies and anonymizers and also of non-compliant VPN services and Tor.
A lot of the confusion can be traced back to one English report on the Russia VPN ban released by ABC news where the title incorrectly claimed: “Russian parliament bans use of proxy Internet services, VPNs” even though the body of the article’s text does clarify that the bill “would oblige Internet providers to block websites that offer VPN services” not block VPN traffic.
One thing to note is that compliance with the new law will be enforced by the FSB and Ministry of Interior instead of the Roskamnadzor. The FSB will be in charge of identifying owners of VPN services, and anonymizers, and asking said owners to implement Russia’s internet censorship blacklists for their users – most of which use VPN services to avoid those very restrictions. Denis Krivosheev, an Amnesty International director in the region, commented:
“With the Russian authorities increasingly intolerant of dissent, technologies that help internet users evade censorship and protect their privacy are crucial for freedom of expression online. Today the authorities have given themselves