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Russia’s federal censor officially threatens to block Tor browser

Russia’s censorship agency (Roskomnadzor) has sent a notice to Tor, threatening to block the web browser unless it removes “prohibited information” from its landing page, reported digital rights group Roskomsvoboda on Tuesday, December 7. 

The letter from Roskomnadzor was published on GitLab on December 6, a few days after Russian Tor users first reported problems accessing the browser.

The censorship agency has ordered Tor to delete unspecified “prohibited information” from the site, which provides information about the browser, as well as download link.

The website was added to Roskomnadzor’s registry of sites that contain “prohibited information” following a court ruling in 2017. However, the court ruling didn’t restrict access to the site.

Tor users in Russia began experiencing problems accessing the browser on December 3. According to the RuNet monitoring project GlobalCheck, Tor is being blocked using Internet-isolation equipment. 

On December 6, lawmaker Anton Gorelkin, the chairman of the State Duma’s Information Policy Committee, said that he saw no alternative to blocking Tor, alleging that the browser’s main purpose is to enable access to the Darkweb, mainly to buy illegal drugs.

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