Russia considers blocking all VPN services from March 2024

Russian authorities may block all VPN services in Russia from March 2024

Russian federal media watchdog Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications) plans to block all VPN services in Russia from March 1, 2024.

Deputy Chairman of the Council for the Development of the Digital Economy under the Federation Council Artem Sheikin said that the decree would apply to all application stores that offer users to download VPN services, including Google Play and AppStore.

The head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy Alexander Khinshtein said, however, that reports about the alleged decision to block all VPN services in Russia sounded strange.

Roskomnadzor is already legally empowered to restrict access to such applications, Khinshtein noted adding that the department blocks them regularly.

Khinshtein suggested that the Federation Council had a different order in mind. It goes about the document that restricts VPN services that violate Russian legislation in search results.

Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications Oleg Matveychev said that access to VPN services in Russia was already limited. VPN services that do not comply with Roskomnadzor's instructions to limit access to certain content can be blocked, he said.

"Some VPN services are good, while others are bad,” the deputy explained. Previously, he noted that it is impossible to block all VPN services in Russia at a time as new ones reappear regularly.

Roskomnadzor later clarified that the agency would independently decide which websites should be added on the Unified Register of Prohibited Information if they do not comply with relevant requirements. As soon as Roskomnadzor obtains the necessary powers, special criteria will be developed for the purpose.

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Author`s name Andrey Mihayloff
Editor Dmitry Sudakov