It’s going to be much harder to view the full web in Russia before the year is out. President Putin has signed a law that, as of November 1st, bans technology which lets you access banned websites, including virtual private networks and proxies. Internet providers will have to block websites hosting these tools. The measure is ostensibly meant to curb extremist content, but that’s just pretext — this is really about preventing Russians from seeing content that might be critical of Putin, not to mention communicating in secret.
The Russian police have arrested Tor node operator Dmitry Bogatov. They charged him with terrorism offense and the reason for this, as they claim, is the connection between his IP address and a series of posts allegedly inciting dissent and disorder.
Yesterday, Friday, the Russian Duma held its first (of three) readings to adopt a law making use of TOR and VPN illegal.
The plan is to make access to sites blocked by net censor authority Roskomnadzor illegal. And there are plenty of them.
Russia’s intelligence agency the FSB, successor to the KGB, has posted a notice on its website claiming that it now has the ability to collect crypto keys for Internet services that use encryption. This meets a two-week deadline given by Vladimir Putin to the FSB to develop such a capability. However, no details have been provided of how the FSB is able to do this.
Russian president Vladimir Putin lashing out against free speech is no news. But this time, he attacks freedom of the press in another country — France.
The background is that the French magazine Charlie Hebdo has published two cartoons relating to the Russian air disaster in the Sinai. One of the two cartoons is focusing on the quality of Russian low fair airlines – and the other making a connection between the disaster and the fact that Russia has now become involved in fighting ISIS, in Syria.
Especially the last one touches on a highly sensitive issue in Russia: The connection between “Putin’s war” in Syria and terrorist attacks against Russian civilians.
Every suggestion of such a connection is seen as undermining Vladimir Putin.
At Chalie Hebdo, they choose not to give in but to speak back. The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard:
“Their argument about sacrilege is absurd. Are we supposed to no longer comment on the news in a different way, or to say nothing more than it’s sad? If so that becomes a problem for freedom of expression.”