Russian legislators proposed to forbid VPN and similar services in Russia

New draft law proposes amendments to Russian law on information, its protection and informational technologies. Explanatory note to this draft underlines that relevant Russian authorities face obstacles when forbid dissemination of illegal information under current Russian law. First of all it is impossible to oblige search engines to exclude links to forbidden information in search results. Secondly VPN services nullify all endeavours targeted to control over dissemination of information in violation of Russian law.

Currently there is no legislative prohibition to use VPN services in Russia. Legislators mentioned that currently it is legal to receive access to blocked web-resource in Russia with help of VPN or similar service. Therefore the main intention of this draft law is to prohibit providing of access to web-sites in Russia which are in “black list”. VPN services must have access to informational resource, maintaining by Russian Roskomnadzor, in order to be informed what informational services are placed to such “black list”.

What the draft law is all about? The draft law provides amendments to the Russian law on information, its protection and informational technologies. Under draft law the owners of info-telecommunication networks, informational systems and programs for computers, and also owners of informational resources, including web-sites and its pages in Internet, which are exploited in order to gain access to such info-telecommunication networks, informational systems or programs for computers, are forbidden to use in Russia above mentioned networks, systems or programs in order to gain access to informational resources, including web-sites, in Internet, if the access to such informational resources has been restricted or blocked in Russia in accordance with law.

In order to provide execution of this law the relevant supervising authority, Roskomnadzor, shall have the following rights and obligations. It creates, exploits and maintains the list of informational resources, including web-sites or their separate pages, if the access to such resources is restricted under Russian law.

Relevant supervising authority also develops methodology and under such methodology monitors informational resources, including web-sites and their separate pages, in order to reveal info-telecommunication networks, informational systems or programs for computers exploited in order to circumvent restriction of access to blocked web-sites in Russia.

If relevant supervising authority reveals that certain person provides access to blocked web-resource in Russia, it requires such person to cease providing of such access. The requirement must be in English and in Russian. Other languages are discriminated for unknown reason. After receiving of such requirement the person (i.e. VPN) must restrict access of users to its networks, systems or programs exploited in order to receive access to blocked resource in Russia within 30 days (also unknown whether calendar or working) following receiving of requirement. VPN also can restrict access to blocked web-resource in Russia directly.

If VPN fails to comply with Roskomnadzor’s requirement within 30 days, Roskomnadzor has the right to restrict access to informational resource, including web-site or its separate page in Internet, exploited in order to gain access to info-telecommunication networks, systems or programs exploited, in their turn, in order to circumvent restrictions on access to blocked resources in Russia.

During 24 hours following the decision Roskomnadzor sends notifications to Internet Service Providers stating network addresses and/or domain names and also any other information identifying informational resource, including web-site or its separate page, exploited in order to access VPN. ISP must execute Roskomnadzor’s requirement on restriction of access to VPN informational resources, including web-sites, within 24 hours.

But new draft law concerns also search engines. It obliges them to receive access to Roskomnadzor’s “black list” and cease to show links to web-resources from such “black list” in Russia in its search results.