Opera under fire from the Russian regulator

Opera under fire from the Russian regulator

Global web innovator Opera has suspended support for VPN services in browsers on Russian territory after Roskomnadzor, Russia's telecommunications watchdog, banned the use of Opera VPN and another service called VyprVPN, having classified them as threats according to current Russian law.

According to the senior public relations manager of Opera, Yulia Sindzelorts, quoted in TASS, Opera’s suspension of support of VPN services in its browsers in Russia is a preventive step that will enable the company to remain committed to the confidentiality and security of users and provide them with the best products.

Sindzelorts suggested that Opera is already protecting the confidentiality of users now, offering protection against tracking, DNS above https and blocking of malicious websites.

This appears not to have been good enough for Roskomnadzor. It’s not precisely clear why the ban has been imposed, but Roskomnadzor has said it was in accordance with the regulation on responding to threats to circumvent restrictions on access to child pornography, suicidal, pro-narcotic and other prohibited contents.

Of course, an attempt to control VPN services cannot be ruled out. This ban comes after Roskomnadzor informed ten VPN providers in March 2019 that they were required to connect their systems to the Russian State Information System (FGIS) to obstruct their users’ access to blocked websites automatically. So far only Kaspersky Secure Connection has connected its systems to the FGIS.

A bill banning VPNs, proxies, and the Tor network was signed into law in July 2017, though it was apparently not enforced until 2019.

Opera has said it is ready for an open dialogue on user security in the internet.

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