Russia drafts bill to ban VPNs and proxies; force search engines to remove search results
Russia will soon see a new bill before the Duma that aims to ban VPNs and proxies that do not comply with the Roskamnadzor, Russia’s online censorship machine. Though the bill is still largely under wraps, the draft bill has been seen by Vedomosti (link in Russian), a Russian news organization. This is the latest development in Russia’s most recent actions against VPNs and proxies. Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Roskamnadzor has already been in talks with VPNs and proxies to find those that will acquiesce to Russian demands and block the things on Russia’s internet blacklist.
Sources have pegged the largest telecom organization, the Media Communications Union (MCU), as the originators of this bill. Though, both the MCU and Roskamnadzor have denied any direct knowledge of this pending legislation. VPNs that choose to stay in the country (Private Internet Access has no servers in Russia because of the heinous Big Brother law whose most recent victim is Twitter) will soon be faced with a choice, if they haven’t been working with Russian authorities already.
Search engines in Russia will also be enlisted in Russia’s internet censorship rampage
Besides enlisting the help of hypocritical VPNs and proxies, the Roskamnadzor also aims to force search engines to censor anything that makes the Roskamnadzor’s blacklist. Not everyone feels that this bill is the best way to go about censoring the Internet. Yandex, Russia’s largest homegrown search engine, commented:
“Even if the reference to a [banned] resource does appear in search results, it does not mean that by clicking on it the user will get access, if it was already blocked by ISPs or in any other ways.”
Speaking of search engines in the region, Google was recently fined by Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) and told to open up the Android market to other search engines. The ruling and fine came as a result of a complaint lodged by Russian search engine Yandex.