Russia plans to block certain Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and protocols which are deemed by a commission of experts to pose a threat, state news agency RIA reported citing correspondence from the digital ministry.
Demand for VPN services soared after Russia restricted access to some Western social media after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine in February 2022.
A 2017 Russian law obliged providers of VPN technology to cooperate with the Russian authorities and to restrict access to content banned by Russia or be banned themselves.
Many VPN services remain widely in use throughout Russia and there has been a public debate among lawmakers about how much further to go in blocking VPN services which still allow access to banned information but also a host of other information.
RIA quoted a reply from the digital ministry to an address by lawmaker Anton Tkachev who had raised concerns about what he said were plans to essentially block all VPNs, a step he said would increase pressure on Russians by cutting them off from using some simple household appliances.
“On the basis of a decision by the expert commission… the filtration of certain VPN services and VPN protocols can be carried out on the mobile communication network for foreign traffic which is identified as a threat,” RIA quoted the ministry as saying.
RIA said that the ministry said that circumvention of restrictions on certain information was considered a threat.
(Published 12 November 2023, 10:03 IST)