Russia’s Roskomnadzor Watchdog Blocks 6 VPN Providers
Russian communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has restricted another six VPN providers. The agency says the platforms have facilitated access to information that is banned in the Russian Federation. Roskomnadzor is also whitelisting certain VPN services that operate in accordance with the law and are used by Russian companies.
Roskomnadzor Bans More VPN Platforms in Russia
Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media, Roskomnadzor, has restricted access to another batch of VPN service providers. In accordance with a government decree issued in February 2020, “a decision was made to block 6 more VPN services that violate Russian law,” the watchdog explained in a notice published Friday.
The affected platforms are Hola! VPN, Express VPN, Keepsolid VPN Unlimited, Nord VPN, Speedify VPN, and IPvanish VPN. The regulator insisted their services allow users to maintain “access to prohibited information and resources,” creating conditions for illegal activities such as those related to the distribution of drugs and spreading of extremism.
Earlier this year, Roskomnadzor banned two other VPN providers, Vyprvpn and Operavpn, citing identical reasons. The federal supervisory body described as “effective and justified” the technical means it’s using against services helping Russians to bypass its restrictions.
Such measures are often applied to websites with crypto-related content. Last August, Roskomnadzor took down the popular exchange aggregator Bestchange.ru and in March 2020, the agency added six crypto sites to its register of banned internet sources. This past June, a court in the Perm region announced its decision to block several websites providing information on cryptocurrency trading.
Watchdog Whitelists Some VPNs Used by Russian Businesses
In its latest announcement, however, Roskomnadzor also revealed it’s now whitelisting certain VPN services. The move aims to avoid disrupting the operations of software programs and applications that are not in breach of the current Russian legislation and “use VPN services for technological purposes.”
The decision to do that comes after the agency received requests from 64 industry organizations, 27 of which are using VPN connections to support 33 technological processes. Roskomnadzor has been presented with more than 100 IP addresses that need to be exempted from its access restriction policies.
The regulator further emphasized that while the VPN services violating the law in the Russian Federation have been blocked completely, the VPNs used by Russian companies that were added to its whitelist have continued to function smoothly.
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