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Russian watchdog blocks 6 more VPN services

Russian federal telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has banned additional VPN services in Russia. The Russian regulator clarified that such services include: Hola! VPN, ExpressVPN, KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, Nord VPN, Speedify VPN, IPVanish VPN—”services that violate Russian law”. russia vpn

Four other VPN providers were also banned earlier.

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The move comes as authorities ramp up control of the Russian segment of the internet, blocking access to dozens of opposition-linked websites ahead of a parliamentary election this month, said local media reports.

“The use of services to bypass bans leads to the preservation of access to prohibited information and websites and creates conditions for illegal activities, including those related to the distribution of drugs, child pornography, extremism, and suicidal tendencies,” the department said in a statement.

“Roskomnadzor has received reports from 64 industry organizations, 27 of which use the aforementioned VPN connections to ensure 33 technological processes. More than 100 IP addresses have been provided with the aim of excluding them from access restriction policies,” it said.

“Using technologies against block bypass services is an effective and justified mechanism,” and “the technological processes of Russian companies included on the white lists have continued their undisrupted operations amid the full blocking of the VPN services that violate the legislation of the Russian Federation,Roskomnadzor said.

The Russian government has been tightening control over the internet under the pretext of fighting extremism and protecting minors and has begun developing a so-called “sovereign internet”.

What does a VPN actually do? russia vpn

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a secure and private network connection through the public internet. VPN services protect your personal data, hide your IP address when you use the internet, and let you bypass censorship, content blocks, and website restrictions.

Using a VPN is perfectly legal in most countries, including the U.S., but not all countries. Also, using a VPN to carry out illegal activity remains illegal, and you will likely still be caught and prosecuted. A VPN protects your privacy but does not excuse or hide you from being reprimanded by the law for theft, unlawful purchases, or any other crime as dictated by the country you are in.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • You can use VPNs in the U.S. – Running a VPN in the U.S. is legal, but anything that’s illegal without a VPN remains illegal when using one (eg torrenting copyrighted material)
  • VPNs are banned by a few countries – Some countries, including China, Russia, Iraq and North Korea, restrict or ban the use of VPNs
  • VPNs use can breach terms of service – It isn’t illegal to access services such as Netflix over a VPN, though it does breach their terms of use
  • Law enforcement can demand information – Though most VPNs promise to keep no logs, there is precedent for VPN providers sharing user information with the authorities when requested

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