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Russia targets VPN providers for allowin...

Russia targets VPN providers for allowing access to government’s website blacklist

Published on April 21, 2017

Russia has requested VPN (virtual private networks) services to stop providing access to blocked domains. Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has urged VPN services to ensure stricter conditions of access to international websites, including online gaming platforms. Such move can only mean further limitation on iGaming industry development.

Following a nationwide plan to fight against gaming industry, the Government of Russia created a blacklist of online operators. Further moves included set plans to block online payment services. All of these steps were introduced as the way to fight against illegal casino operations through internet offerings.

Even though VPN services are not illegal in Russia yet, it is expected that in the near future they will be completely banned. Online companies are worried that by government’s involvement in these internet sectors will result in disrupted free access to websites in general. Further, the new legislations are being prepared in order to expand the power of Roskomnadzor. And that would most likely jeopardise the operations of technology and communication companies.

The new financial penalties are being introduced for search engines that fail to filter blacklisted domains from search results. The fines reach up to RUB 700k (US $12,500) per incident. However, a representative of Yandex search engine referred to this proposal as being “superfluous“. He said that, even if a search query returns a blacklisted domain, the user’s internet service provider is supposed to be preventing access to such sites.