MOSCOW – One of the world’s leading internet privacy and security companies is removing its servers from the Russian capital because of concerns about the Putin government’s recent call to hand over private data.
TotalVPN.com, a worldwide cyber security firm, blamed recent Russian legislation for threatening the privacy of its clients in the former Soviet Union.
According to a company press release, Russian legislation written in the name of anti-terrorism brought about some “scary data privacy concerns.”
The new legislation requires any Internet service provider in Russia to record a user’s data for up to one year if any user connects to Russian servers. Also, companies must provide a user’s name, IP address and any other account information. This applies even if a provider doesn’t or can’t disclose user activity, such as browsing history and connection timestamps.
And according to the Euromaidan Press, the law obliges mobile operators, to store all the call records and messages of their users at least for half a year. Information about the time, date, and participants of any communication (without its content) must be kept for three years. The same applies to the “organizers of spreading information via the Internet,” for example social networks and mail services.
In that publication’s report, Artem Kozluk, the head of Roskomsvoboda, an organization focused on monitoring violations of Internet users rights, says the passed law will allow the Russian Federal Security Service to have a permanent aссess to the whole range of private data even without a court`s permission.
TotalVPN believes that what makes this really bad from a moral standpoint, of any VPN provider, is the Russian Government could also request contents of user communications and request data decryption.
TotalVPN.com sounded the alarms when the anti-terrorism legislation passed on on July 7 put into place justification “for mass surveillance and new data retention laws” and threatened that any company failing to comply could be fined.
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, create an encrypted tunnel between a user’s computer and a server location to restrict hackers, government and ISPs from monitoring Internet activity. Providers such as Total VPN are acting now to retain web privacy for their users.
The company refuses to comply with the new legislation and says it will not operate in Russia.
On July 13, the company shut down its Russian servers. Most of TotalVPN’s software will update automatically, other connections will be reset manually.
TotalVPN are advocates for Internet privacy, and to protect its customers, it doesn’t log anything from the moment users connect to their VPN servers. TotalVPN has no plans to change what data it records.
The company says it stands with its Russian customers who demand privacy, and it hopes its position helps users remain private online. “Those Russians in the know will jump on VPN services and connect to servers outside the surveillance state.”
What’s next will be interesting for the world of web privacy and encryption. More and more users worldwide are turning to VPNs to stay secure and private as more countries and governments begin to challenge the open, free Internet status quo.
This situation does make some observers wonder what impact this new Russian legislation will have on the hackers that use Russian “protection” to commit crimes and cause havoc worldwide.