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The new law on VPN services in Russia

The Russian president has signed the law on VPN services operating in Russia. This law is intended to prohibit dissemination of information, or in other words – prohibit access in Russia to information, forbidden by Russian law, with help of VPN services. Such services allow the internet user to receive access to any web-site, or almost any web-site, if such access has been blocked by Russian telecommunication companies, providing access to internet in Russia, under court order or in accordance with law.

Under signed law the owner of telecommunication networks, informational resources (web-site and/or its single page in Internet, informational system, software for computer) is prohibited to provide an Internet user, residing in Russia, with access with help of his networks and/or informational resources to informational resources blocked in Russia under applicable law. In other words, under this law if the access to certain web-site has been restricted in Russia, VPN service can’t be exploited in order to receive access to such web-site.

In order to execute this law relevant supervising authority should create and exploit the federal informational system containing the list of web-sites or informational resources which has been blocked in Russia. Supervising authority also interacts with Russian enforcement authorities, Russian government, and federal executive authorities in order to receive information about means of access to web-sites blocked in Russia.

At the request of executive or enforcement authority supervising authority detects the hosting provider or other person who provides the opportunity to place VPN service in Internet. When the hosting provider or such person is known, Roskomnadzor, supervising authority, has to notify the provider or person of requirement to provide information on the owner of VPN service and publish such information on web-site of service.

If the owner of VPN service is known, such owner is to be required to connect to federal informational system containing the list of web-sites blocked in Russia. Within 30 working days following the requirement VPN owner must connect to such system. The law also contains very interesting provision. The search engine, if it disseminates in Internet an advertisement which is intended to attract the attention of customers, residing in Russia, must also connect to federal informational system if supervising authority requires so.

After the connecting to federal informational system the VPN owner must ensure that its service will not be exploited in order to circumvent restricted access to web-sites from Roskomnadzor’s black list. It must do it within three working days following the connection with system. The search engine, disseminating advertisement in Internet for Russian customers, also must exclude from search results (perhaps the legislators meant “de-indexing”?) the data on informational resources blocked in Russia. The search engine must do it within three days following the requirement of supervising authority.

If the VPN owner ignores the requirement of Roskomnadzor, the last decides to restrict access to informational resources or info-telecommunication networks of VPN owner. If Roskomnadzor decided to restrict access, it notifies the Internet services providers thereof. ISPs must execute Roskomnadzor’s requirement within 24 hours.