Leonid Levin, Chairman of the Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications, proposed to consider limiting access to anonymising networks such as Tor and VPNs. Levin said that the world was a tough place and it needed tougher policing.
Levin also opined that restricting access to proxy networks which would “increase opportunities to counter the commercial distribution of malware” and also help to impede access to “forbidden” information.
Vadim Ampelonsky, the press secretary of Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor supported Levin’s stance on Tor, claiming that the technological obstacles to blocking The Onion Router’s obfuscation protocols are “difficult, but solvable,”
The Safe Internet League, which consists of Russia’s state telecom company Rostelecom and two other major mobile providers, slammed Tor. Its spokesman Denis Davydov said: “We strongly support the idea of limiting Russia’s access to anonymous networks, including Tor. The ‘Invisible’ Internet has made it possible for offenders of all kinds to hide their intentions from the state and use it to commit crimes: acquiring drugs and weapons, distributing child pornography, trafficking in human beings – including sex slaves – and leading political struggle.”
It a return to the old language of the cold war, he added “do not forget that Tor was developed and is used by Americans, including US intelligence agencies, to expand the hegemony of the United States around the world.”
Nanning anonymising networks would increase user-trust among the Russian people and lead to economic benefits, having described Tor as an ‘Anonymous network used primarily to commit crimes’.
Roskomnadzor already maintains a government blacklist of forbidden sites, updates to which are regularly circulated to network providers, who are then obliged to block the domains.