It looks like Roskomnadzor has entered a decisive phase in the fight against VPN services. These are applications that allow you to hide your country while browsing the Internet. They are used to open sites blocked in Russia. For example, when Roskomnadzor blocked Telegram three years ago, it was through VPN services that most users entered Pavel Durov's disgraced messenger.
And Telegram was recently allowed in Russia, but VPN services, on the contrary, will now have a hard time. True, so far not all, but only two. According to a fresh message on the Roskomnadzor website, “from June 17, 2021, restrictions are imposed on the use of VPN services VyprVPN and Opera VPN.” The purpose of the restriction is also indicated there: these sites pose a threat of “circumventing restrictions on access to child pornography, suicidal, pro-narcotic and other prohibited content.”
What will change for ordinary users? The experts explain: no one will bother you to install both the Opera browser and the VyprVPN application. But Roskomnadzor will block the work of anonymizers – that is, the very possibility of “hiding” the country of entry.
Rather, it is already blocking, as the author of the article was convinced of from his own experience. When I saw the news about the blocking on the Roskomnadzor website, the first thing I did was open the Opera browser. Works. Downloaded kp.ru – it works too. But the “site with prohibited content” – the torrent from which I sometimes secretly download films and yesterday's football matches (and who is without sin?) From the government, refused to load. Yes, not only refused, but met me with a formidable Roskomnadzor logo and a message: access to the requested resource is limited. Since it contains “information, the distribution of which is prohibited in the Russian Federation.” Look, the ban works!
– Indeed, the work of many free services, which include Opera VPN and VyprVPN, can be blocked. But there are paid applications, and it is much more difficult to do it with them, ”says Karen Ghazaryan, CEO of the Institute for Internet Research. – You can recall the experience of China, where the lion's share of free VPNs is blocked, but paid ones work quietly and allow you to bypass local censorship.
VyprVPN is little known in Russia. But Opera, according to the expert, several years ago was one of the main VPNs in our country. But gradually the Opera's popularity in Russia fell. This is also because such applications are often accused of manipulating user information – according to Karen Kazaryan, many free VPN services make money by selling personal data.
– The law prohibiting the use of VPNs to bypass the blocking of prohibited sites was passed back in 2017. But in fact all this time he did not work, – continues Karen Ghazaryan. – I think that the restriction of Opera VPN and VyprVPN has become a “pen test” for Roskomnadzor – to check whether it can be done or not. Perhaps, if the experience is successful, they can try to impose restrictions on other free VPN services. However, most paid apps are neither cold nor hot because of this – they will continue to work as before.