Internet censorship is about to get a level up in Russia starting November 1st, 2017 when a new law goes into effect that makes it illegal to utilize VPNs or TORs to access websites Russian establishment label as illegal.
Reuters is reporting that the Russian Government is banning virtual private networks, TOR utilities, and tools to give internet users anonymity while browsing the web.
Reuters claims that Leonid Levin, the head of the Duma’s information policy committee, claims the new law isn’t intended to affect law-abiding Russian citizens, only people attempting to access “unlawful content”.
The Federal Law on Information Technologies was updated recently on July 29th, 2017 with the new amendments outlining how chat apps and messaging services must use a legitimate phone number for the account. This measure also applies for social media services such as Twitter, Facebook and Discord. It will be mandatory to have a legitimate phone number attached to your account, in case you do something that goes against the establishment and requires investigation, they will require easy access to your account and legitimate contact information.
The phone number identification requirement for social media won’t go into effect until January 1st, 2018.
This move follows China’s lead in also banning VPN services, as well as cracking down on live-streaming services, which happened this past summer, as reported by Tech Crunch.
Unsurprisingly enough, both China and Russia ranked as two of the top nations that are not very “free” when it comes to internet access. In fact, China was ranked first and Russia was ranked second.
Some reports are indicating that this particular move from Putin’s administration was to curb the possible flow of information that could work against the Russian election coming up in 2018.
Despite access to information being at an all time high within the world, there also seems to be a recent and aggressive push to quarantine how people are able to access that information under certain establishments.