All popular VPN services agree to block prohibited sites
All the most popular VPN services in Russia and anonymizers agreed to comply with the law on blocking prohibited websites, which took effect on November 1, the Head of Roskomnadzor told RBC. There are about 30 such resources in the country.
"Russia has from 25 to 30 proxy and VPN services popular with the population. Among them are cameleo.ru, 2ip.ru and others. They all expressed their readiness to abide by the law, we did not have any misunderstanding in conversation with them. It is clear that there are also hundreds of thousands of small and hand-crafted VPNs – it is not difficult to make such a service, in theory. But the law is targeted, first of all, at the services that are most popular with citizens," Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) Head Alexander Zharov told RBC, commenting on the law providing restrictions for anonymizers, which comes into force today.
Corresponding amendments to the legislation were signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 30 and entered into force on Wednesday, November 1. The new requirements oblige anonymizers, which received a notification from Roskomnadzor, to connect to the information system (FGIS) with data on sites banned in Russia and start blocking access to them within 30 days. Roskomnadzor will receive information on which services need to comply with this requirement from the FSB and the Interior Ministry. In case of non-fulfillment of legal requirements within the time limit, the anonymizer will be blocked in the territory of the country.
"We have not yet sent demands to any services to connect to the FGIS, because we did not receive any reports from law enforcement agencies. Before receiving information from them, we will not take any action. When preparation for the law, we tested the new interface of the information system with Kaspersky Lab, Opera Software AS, Yandex, it works," Alexander Zharov said.
He also noted that an equally important part of the law is cleaning the register of banned information from duplicate records. "At the moment there are more than 90 thousand records about prohibited sites in the register, among which there is duplicating and already outdated information. By early 2018, the number of records will dwindle to about 50 thousand," the Head of Roskomnadzor informed.
As previously reported by RBC, the European Business Association, which includes Air France, Volvo Cars, Deutsche Bank, Nokia and several hundred other European companies, was concerned about the entry of the law on restrictions for VPN into force. Members of the organization asked the Ministry of Communications and Roskomnadzor to clarify whether they can still use VPN to ensure information security and secure interaction with partners and contractors, and whether they should notify Russian state regulators about this.
Alexander Zharov remarked that the law "quite clearly" says that it does not apply to VPN services used by companies for technological purposes. "In case of receiving a notification from Roskomnadzor companies can apply to law enforcement agencies explaining that VPN service is necessary for their own technological purposes and is used only by a certain number of persons, for example, by employees," Alexander Zharov stressed.