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Russia's Senate adopts new legislation cracking down on Internet anonymity. All that's left now is Putin's signature

Source: Meduza

The upper house of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council, has approved draft laws banning Internet anonymizers (including VPNs and the Tor browser) and prohibiting the anonymous use of instant messengers. The legislation was adopted almost unanimously: just one senator abstained from the vote on the anonymizers, and only six senators voted against the messenger law (with 12 abstaining).

Addressing the Federation Council, Oleg Ivanov, the deputy director of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state censor, reminded lawmakers that the new restrictions on messengers will only apply to services formally registered as “information-distribution organizers,” and not the Internet’s various “kitchen-table efforts.”

Senator Anton Belyakov has pointed out that Facebook is hardly an amatuer project, but it’s not registered with Roskomnadzor. He has criticized the legislation, saying it was passed without properly consulting Russia’s Internet industry experts.

Belyakov also accuses mobile phone operators of pushing the law through parliament, saying they expect to profit from the contracts messengers will be required to sign with them, in order to determine users' true identities.

All that's left now is President Putin's signature, and this legislation will become Russian law. The law on instant messengers would take effect on January 1, 2018, while the legislation against censorship-circumvention tools would enter force even sooner, on November 1, 2017.

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