VPN service Hideme.ru has been blocked under Byzylyks district court order in Orenburg province. The court decided that resource provided the internet users with opportunity to receive an access to web-sites, containing extremist materials. Therefore according to the court order the hideme.ru VPN service disseminated information forbidden in Russia.
The local prosecutor’s office filed complaint to block this service in Russia. The court decided to block service despite the fact that service has fulfilled requirement of Roskomnadzor and deleted the form of so called anonymizer, special software enabling to access a blocked web-sites. The service has changed its name and provides its services under new domain.
Sometimes VPN services make useless all efforts of Russian authorities because web-sites are accessible despite the blocking. Russian authorities don’t like such services. But chief of Roskomnadzor has said once that fighting with such services is useless because only 5-7% of citizens use them and the real task of authority is to block actually negative information.
Prosecutor offices will continue to ask the court to block VPN services. The more such services will be shut down the more segment of internet will be under control. But this strategy could lead to blocking of all internet web-sites and people will use material media for their needs like it was before the internet. Roskomnadzor promised to execute court orders and, if it will be required by the court, reveal and block a mirrors of such services.
The Russian authorities perfectly know that such services don’t disseminate any information. They only provide access to blocked information. Providing access and dissemination of information are not the same things. But if prosecutor offices don’t have a good adversary in court, who could explain to the court the difference between VPN services and blocked web-sites, the court will decide in favor of prosecutors.