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.
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.
“VPN providers have unanimously condemned Netflix’s crackdown on subscribers who use so-called unblocking services. Several VPN companies have announced counter-measures, while others raise the issue of Net Neutrality, suggesting that there are better ways to tackle abuse.”
Torrentfreak: VPN Providers Condemn Netflix Blocking Crackdown »
TorrentFreak reports from New Zeeland…
“A pair of Internet providers who defied TV company demands to switch off their VPN services will be sued in the coming days. CallPlus and Bypass Network Services face legal action from media giants including Sky and TVNZ for allowing their customers to use a VPN to buy geo-restricted content.”
This was somehow expected. The copyright industry is very annoyed when it comes to VPN services.
There is reason to believe that the New Zeeland cases will be the start of a series of similar court cases around the world. The entertainment and media industries are essentially multinational. Most likely, this is just a pilot case.
Once again Big Business wants to shut down legitimate Internet services, just to protect their outdated business models. But they can never win. Instead, they should accept and embrace the simple fact that the Internet provides one global media market.
It is ridiculous to believe that people all over the world would refrain from watching their favourite TV series and films if VPN services where to be shut down. It would only bring new life to traditional illegal file sharing.
One must remember that people using media services via VPN are not pirating. They are paying customers – only in another country. All Big Entertainment and Big Media might accomplish by going after VPN services is to turn these paying customers into non-paying pirates.
The fact that the copyright industry refuses to adopt to a global, connected market is nothing new. This seems to be a never ending story.
But VPN is not just about light entertainment. VPN is serious stuff. It is used by companies, organisations, governments and private individuals for security and privacy reasons. It is a way to get round censorship. It is a part of the toolbox that dissidents, opposition groups and activists use to communicate securely.
There is no way Big Entertainment and Big Media should be allowed to shut down this important instrument of freedom, security and anonymity. Instead, they must learn to adapt to the real world market.
TorrentFreak: TV Companies Will Sue VPN Providers “In Days” »