Large VPN-services decline cooperation with Roskomnadzor
According to the law, which came into effect on November 1, blocking awaits them themselves.
The law on the prohibition of anonymizers, enacted in Russia, has not yet affected access to sites that are prohibited. As before, you can access them (websites) thanks to anonymizers, VPN and TOR. Analysts of Roskomsvoboda - a public organization, which activities are aimed at counteracting censorship on the Internet, explain that theoretically it will be possible to feel the law no sooner than December. This is due to the procedure for its implementation - on the basis of a request from the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Federal Security Service, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) will need to contact the owner of the anonymizer or VPN-service, who will need to connect to the federal state information system (FGIS) within 36 working days and begin blocking sites banned in Russia.
Some well-known VPN-services have already reacted to the next round of censorship in the Russian segment of the Internet. Representatives of ExpressVPN expressed surprise at this issue, asking how exactly Russia intends to implement this new regulation in practice? Judging by the experience of other countries, they add, censors do not have sufficient funds to completely eliminate VPN traffic. The only effective measure, according to ExpressVPN, is the complete disconnection from the global network. That said, the company adds that such a crackdown only drives up the demand for their products.
"ExpressVPN will certainly never agree with any standards that would jeopardize the ability of our product to protect the digital rights of users," remarks the company.
Zenmat service expressed the readiness for blockings, saying that if there is an attempt to block them, the service will automatically switch to "stable mode" without causing serious inconvenience to users. In this mode, the connection will be redirected through the largest backbone Internet services, notes ZenMate, which plays a key role for the entire Internet network, and therefore their blocking will paralyze it.
Tunnelbear imparted that the service belongs to a Canadian company, hence operates according to the local laws, which do not limit them in any way.
PrivateVPN sees to them, stating that since they are not based in Russia, they are not obliged to work in compliance with Russian laws.
Golden Frog President Sunday Yokubaitis said that his company does not communicate with Roskomnadzor, and their mission is to support free and open Internet.
VPN-service TorGuard also does not intend to cooperate with Roskomnadzor, directly declaring that it will refuse to block sites if they are approached with such requests.
TgVPN, which will bypass the blocking of Telegram in case it does happen in Russia, also officially confirmed the reluctance to comply with this law. In their message representatives of the service call the request of Roskomnadzor absurd.
Additionally, Roskomnadzor threatens Internet search engines that will return links to VPN-services with problems as well.
The head of Roskomvoboda Artem Kozlyuk believes that this way the Russian legislation regulating the Internet "has taken the path of Eastern Internet regulation."
Presumably, it concerns the US response to Ukraine’s help in the investigation against Joseph Biden, Trump’s main rival in the 2020 presidential election, who allegedly was in collusion with Kiev during the previous campaign.