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Putin bans VPNs in Russia, following China's move

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The Chinese government is laser-focused on wiping out the ability to remain anonymous on the Internet. So by February 2018 China will block all VPNs. But as TechCrunch reports, they are not alone. President Putin just passed a new law that will ban the use of VPNs in Russia beginning in November.

Virtual Private Networks offer a very convenient and cheap way to hide your Internet activity, protect your privacy, and overcome any location-based blocks. So you can see why China wants them banned. For Russia, the law is banning all means of accessing the Internet anonymously because the government believes anonymity allows access to illegal content.

According to Freedom House, the so-called Yarovaya's Law was presented as a package of "antiterrorist legislative amendments," but ultimately allows much greater access by the Russian government to individual user's data as well as undermining the security of encrypted communications. In other words, if the Kremlin doesn't like content, it can more easily take it down and take action against the individual who posted it once this law comes into effect on November 1.

How well such a ban works depends on how it is policed. China will place the responsibility of blocking all VPNs on local ISPs. The Russian government will likely do the same considering last year it passed a law demanding ISPs retain a record of user data for a year. Another law passed in 2015 also demanded all Russian citizen user data be stored on servers within Russia. Taken altogether, it's very difficult to hide online in Russia, and it's only going to get harder come November.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.