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Russia Rolls Out VPN Ban Nationwide

Published: March 7, 2024 | Print Friendly and PDF
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Curbing free speech. Curbing privacy.

The Russian government is employing an increasingly strict approach to manage and rein in the digital freedom its citizens have enjoyed in recent years by introducing a ban on VPN services.

The embargo, poised to be enforced this month, targets not just VPN ads but also websites offering advice on how to navigate around the country’s censorship barriers.

This clampdown appears to signify one of the most recent moves in a long-term strategy aimed at curbing access to information from outside Russia, effectively insulating its internet users while simultaneously beefing up the government’s surveillance prowess. Consequently, VPNs, which could be perceived as one of the last resort tools available to Russians for tapping into international viewpoints, are being denied to the users.

VPNs, shorthand for Virtual Private Networks, essentially establish a secure digital conduit that endows internet users with privacy protections. They make this feasible by encrypting the internet connection, thus obstructing external viewers from prying into individuals’ online activities. Beyond dodging government-imposed censorship, VPNs are vital tools used by modern internet users for securing their sensitive data, accessing geographically limited content, and promoting private browsing devoid of tracking.

It appears that the Russian government’s hardened stance on VPN services transcends the basic desire to just restrain freedom of speech. Since VPNs allow internet users to maintain their privacy, Russia’s actions will hinder access to online privacy in the country.

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