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Russia passes bill to ban proxies, VPNs and yeah, privacy in general

THE CHARMINGLY SOCIAL RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT has passed a bill that bans methods of internet privacy including virtual private networks (VPNs), proxies and Tor. 

We say ‘Russia’ as though it is just what we would expect from the country under Putin, but it isn’t far off how we see the UK turning out under Theresa May.  It is bad news, of course, particularly for Russians, but also for anyone that needs to make private internet searches, make illicit purchases or watch Bruce Springsteen videos.

Russia’s Roskomnadzor Internet watchdog talks about banning access to things regularly, such things include LinkedIn, which probably deserves it. The vill has to be officially signed off, according to Bleeping Computer, but it sounds like a popular theme in the Russian government so our money is on its passing.

NordVPN, a VPN provider with thousands of Russian users, says that those punters were abuzz with the news over the weekend, adding that it does not agree with internet censorship – which we probably could have worked out for ourselves.

“NordVPN stands for freedom of speech and free access to the Internet, and we don’t agree with Internet censorship by any government. Recent moves by China and Russia to outlaw VPNs is indeed very worrying, as VPNs represent the only window to the world in countries with authoritarian governments, and can save lives of political activists by providing them with anonymity,” said NordVPN’s CMO, Marty P. Kamden.

“As with China, it’s not yet clear how the Russian government is going to implement the ban from the technical point of view. However, we at NordVPN will do everything within our power to enable our users to continue enjoying the Internet freedom.”

Perhaps someone can invent a virtual private virtual private network or a proxy that looks like a Putin fan page. In the meantime, if you live in Russia, put some tape over your webcam. That is absolutely the very least that you can do.  µ

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