Russia Bans VPN Services

Russia’s telecommunications and media regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) on Thursday introduced restrictions on the operation of VyprVPN and Opera VPN services in the country.

“In accordance with the regulation on responding to threats to circumvent restrictions on access to child pornography, suicidal, pro-narcotic and other prohibited content, restrictions on the use of VPN services VyprVPN and Opera VPN will be introduced from June 17, 2021,” the state agency said in a statement.

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The watchdog described them as threats in accordance with the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 127 dated February 12, adding the restrictions will not affect Russian companies using VPN services in continuous technological processes.

Russia Bans VPN Services

The development comes a little over a month after RKN sent a request to enterprises and organizations that use the two VPN services to inform the Center for Monitoring and Management of the Public Telecommunications Network and seek exceptions so as to avoid disruptions to their business operations.

The agency said more than 200 technological processes associated with 130 Russian companies are included in the “white lists.”

On March 28, 2019, Russian government required VPNs, anonymizers, and search engine operators to ensure that they block sites included on Roskomnadzor’s regularly updated register of banned sites through the Federal State Information System (FSIS).

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To that effect, ten providers of virtual private network (VPN) servers — including NordVPN, Hide My Ass (HMA), Hola VPN, OpenVPN, VyprVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, Kaspersky Secure Connection, and VPN Unlimited — were mandated to connect to the national blocklist.

According to Russian news agency Interfax, Kaspersky Lab was the only company that complied with the request. Avast, another cybersecurity vendor, exited the VPN market following the order.

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