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Russia Bans Use of VPN Apps As Apple Pulls Them From Chinese App Store

Russia has recently signed a law banning the use of VPN apps used to gain access to anonymous websites. VPN apps are apps that allow users to bypass firewalls and security features on websites or Wi-Fi networks allowing them to gain access to any website they choose. The law was signed by President Vladimir Putin and will be put into effect November 1st. The chairman of Duma’s committee on information policy and

The chairman of Duma’s committee on information policy and technology stated that the law is not targeted at citizens who obey the law but instead wants to prohibit access to illegal content and websites. However, not everyone sees the law as simply a way to stop the accessing of illegal content, but instead advocates for privacy in Russia see the ban as another for the Russian government to restrict access to political content that the government disagrees with.

This is not the first Russian cyber law that citizens have disagreed with, in 2015 Russia passed a law that made it mandatory for all user data from Russian citizens to be stored in Russian-based servers, and in 2016 another law was passed making it necessary for internet service providers to retain traffic data for up to a year. Russia even threatened to block access to Telegram encrypted messaging app unless the company that provides the app releases more information about themselves to the Russian government. China is notorious with their problems with cyber security, recently China passed a similar law requiring VPN apps and similar apps to be approved by the Chinese government, this prompted Apple to remove them from the App Store. ExpressVPN, as well as other VPN providers expressed their disappointment about China’s decision to remove VPN apps, “We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts.

ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties,” Apple later released a message stating their reasoning for removing the app due to the law passed by China. China’s most recent problem with cyber-security was when they discovered that some of the employees an Apple store employees were selling the personal data of Apple customers to hackers. China has even begun blocking certain feature of the global messaging app, Whatsapp in an effort to further tighten their security. Hopefully with these new laws, Russia and China will be able to prevent any further issues with cyber security from occurring in their respective countries.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

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