Law Outlawing Use of VPNs Comes Into Effect in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin enters a hall to meet members of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, on Oct. 30, 2017. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — A law banning the use of virtual private networks, or VPNs, and other internet proxy services has come into effect in Russia.

The law, the latest in a spate of legislation stifling internet freedoms in Russia, was pushed by authorities who cited concerns about the spread of extremist materials.

The bill that President Vladimir Putin signed into the law in July obliges Internet providers to block websites that offer VPN services. Many Russians use VPNs to access blocked content by routing connections through servers outside the country.

Russian authorities have been cracking down on internet freedoms in recent years. Among other things they want internet companies to store privacy data on Russian servers.

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