Russian lawmakers unanimously adopt first reading of legislation to ban VPNs and Internet anonymizers

Meduza
15:07, 23 june 2017

Russian lawmakers in the State Duma have unanimously adopted the first reading of legislation that would ban technologies that make it possible to circumvent Internet censorship. In the law’s explanatory note, the Duma deputies argue that Russia’s existing system to block illegal content on the Web is “not effective enough.”

363 deputies voted in favor of the draft law, which was recently endorsed by a Duma committee reviewing the legislation. 

The legislation would ban the use of any software that grants users access to Web content that’s been banned in Russia, including virtual private network (VPN) services and Internet anonymizers, like the Tor browser. If adopted, the law would ban any online resources that provide access to such censorship-circumvention software.

The bill’s sponsors would give the owners of VPN networks and Internet anonymizers access to Russia’s registry of blocked online resources, so they could cut access to these websites. Any Internet circumvention tools that refuse to block access to banned resources would themselves be blocked.