Putin Bans VPN and Tor in Web Browsing Crackdown

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/POOL/File Photo

Vladimir Putin has banned virtual private networks (VPNs) and Tor in a crackdown on apps that allow access to websites prohibited in Russia.

The law, signed by Mr Putin, was passed by Russia’s parliament last week and will now come into force on 1 November.

A second law to ban anonymous use of online messaging services will take effect on 1 January next year.

It would make it easier for the state to snoop on citizens’ browsing habits, one internet security expert suggested.

The laws signed by Mr Putin are meant only to block access to “unlawful content” and not target law-abiding web users, the head of the lower house of parliament said, according to the RIA news agency.

One feature of the second law is the provision to require internet operators to restrict users’ access if they are found to be distributing illegal content.

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