Russia's War On Encryption Stumbles Forth With Ban Of Tutanota

from the what-are-you-so-afraid-of dept

The Russian government continues to escalate its war on encrypted services and VPNs. For years now, Putin's government has slowly but surely taken steps to effectively outlaw secure communications, framing the restrictions as essential for national security, with the real goal of making it harder than ever for Russian citizens to dodge the Putin government's ever-expanding surveillance ambitions.

The latest case in point: starting last Friday, the Russian government banned access to encrypted email service Tutanota, without bothering to provide the company with much of any meaningful explanation:

In a blog post, the company notes that Tutanota has been blocked in Egypt since October of last year, and that impacted users should attempt to access the service via a VPN or the Tor browser:

"Encrypted communication is a thorn in the side to authoritarian governments like Russia as encryption makes it impossible for security services to eavesdrop on their citizens. The current blocking of Tutanota is an act against encryption and confidential communication in Russia.

...We condemn the blocking of Tutanota. It is a form of censorship of Russian citizens who are now deprived of yet another secure communication channel online. At Tutanota we fight for our users’ right to privacy online, also, and particularly, in authoritarian countries such as Russia and Egypt.

Except VPNs have been under fire in Russia for years as well. Back in 2016 Russia introduced a new surveillance bill promising to deliver greater security to the country. Of course, as with so many similar efforts around the world the bill actually did the exact opposite -- not only mandating new encryption backdoors, but also imposing harsh new data-retention requirements on ISPs and VPN providers forced to now register with the government. As a result, some VPN providers, like Private Internet Access, wound up leaving the country after finding their entire function eroded and having some of their servers seized.

Last year Russia upped the ante, demanding that VPN providers like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, and HideMyAss help block forbidden websites that have been added to Russia's censorship watchlist. And last January, ProtonMail (and ProtonVPN) got caught up in the ban as well after it refused to play the Russian government's registration games. While Russian leaders want the public to believe these efforts are necessary to ensure national security, they're little more than a giant neon sign advertising Russian leaders' immense fear of the Russian public being able to communicate securely.

Filed Under: encryption, russia
Companies: tutanota


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2020 @ 5:11pm

    Russian government!

    What about the US's world hate, dominance, and control surveillance?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2020 @ 7:35pm

      Re:

      Hello comrade. I'm happy to help you learn something today. Ad hominem tu quoque is the name of the logical fallacy you have contributed. It's basically an attempt to sidestep the discussion and accuse the other side of hypocrisy. When deployed in this way, it is effectively saying "two wrongs make a right" or "sinners be silent". Posting this fallacy makes you look desperate to distract from the facts at hand. Shame on you for taking money to spout such nonsense.

      Also, the Russian government's assault on privacy is certainly not a reaction to anything the US has ever done; it is simple and historically consistent repression of the Russian people, for the exclusive benefit of their authoritarian masters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2020 @ 7:38pm

      Re:

      Whatabout beavers?
      Whatabout cigarettes?
      Whatabout 2+2?

      Oh, I'm sorry, were you trying to negate the legitimacy of the conversation about Russia's ban of Tutanota, by saying the US does it too? Heads up, just because one person or group does it, doesn't justify others doing it. Nor does others doing it justify the actions of the original person or group.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2020 @ 3:47am

        Re: Re:

        This is so confusing. So you're defending Trump's government against vague accusations made by a Russian?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2020 @ 6:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I saw no defense of trumplandia in the post to which you refer, perhaps you could explain yourself.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2020 @ 3:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's not possible to make a defense of the US without implying support for Trump, if you are a member of the left (because the left takes Trump's presidency as of utmost alarm, even with prewar allusions out in the open, as if real sane people could talk in such fashion).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2020 @ 5:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "It's not possible to make a defense of the US without implying support for Trump"

              What if I were to defend the fighting of forest fires, how does that imply support of trump? Trump said that our fires were because we were not cleaning the forest floor.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2020 @ 2:23pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If Trump constitutes the embodiment of all ills, then, if Trump fights forest fires, it is wrong to fight forest fires. Otherwise, you begin to validate Trump, in situation after situation, until it accumulates so much that we have to question the disposition, and conclude it's merely a case of jealousy or greed that makes people dislike him so vehemently, or prehaps by following some strange and incomprehensible cult.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2020 @ 4:21pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I never claimed that trump was a pyromaniac, I pointed out that Trump mocked the firefighting effort in Calf and tried to blame it on the lack of cleaning the forest floor - hence the conclusion that he does not support fire fighting. It may be a bad example, but it does not really matter.

                  Your claim of "It's not possible to make a defense of the US without implying support for Trump," is wrong. There are many things going on in the US that have nothing to do with that two bit ass clown.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 9:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                We're not cleaning the forest floors!!! Fires are a natural things for Nature. Fires help burn away the brush and allow new things to grow. Because WE put out fires as fast as possible because people are building homes in and around forests we put out fires. Doing that for years and years causes the brush to really build up.

                Once there's a ton of brush now on the forest floors and you have a fire, it not only gets out of control, it gets very HOT and out of control and not only burns the brush but it burns up all the trees and then ends up looking like a wasteland. I know, I've seen it up and personal. It's a black wasteland. A normal forest, the brush would burn, the bigger trees would survive, just getting a little chard on the bottom. The brush would just burn up pretty fast and the fire would stay much closer to the ground.

                Because we can't just let nature do its thing these days, it means PEOPLE need to do the job. It's impossible to do the whole forest. But controlling all the brush on your property is a must. Along with doing a number of things to your home to protect it better. There are a number of new laws for new construction that have gone into effect. For example, Vents that will seal up if heat, flames get near them to keep the fire outside and not going into the home. I've seen the side by side results, pretty impressive.

                All this brush all over the forest floors means when a fire starts, it gets very HOT and very LARGE and it just burns everything in sight. Nothing stands a chance. This is nothing new. Trump saying it doesn't change the facts. It's been said long before Trump.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  DeComposer (profile), 24 Feb 2020 @ 11:28am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  the bigger trees would survive, just getting a little chard on the bottom

                  Personally, I prefer oregano over chard. 🤣🤣🤣

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 12:38pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "We're not cleaning the forest floors!!! "

                  We need an Armada of Roomba, Forest edition.
                  No need to fear! ... ARF is here!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2020 @ 9:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Which strain do you smoke? It sounds fascinating, at least for the smoker. For everyone else your comment is pure word salad but that must be some pretty amazing shit.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2020 @ 2:25pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                And now, you will notice this too, if you can understand reasoning, and syllogisms, and are a person who is civilized and takes good advantage of his leasure: Now it has become obvious that the left's cries against blocking of borders were false, for, now that others do it, which have some alignment with them in other areas, they permit it, as if it's some totally different thing from Trump's travel bans and efforts at border enforcement along the US-Mexico border.

                So we see that somehow, though, any concept of thinking has utterly abandoned the left, they cannot apply the prefrontal cortext to many matters at all. Such a curious situation, I will never understand them at all.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2020 @ 12:39am

      Re:

      The US government isn't blocking Tutanota. It's other authoritarian tendencies are regularly noted.

      That's some fucking weak whataboutism right there, buddy.

      And yeah, sorry, Russia currently sucks much worse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 10:53am

      Re:

      What about the US's world hate, dominance, and control surveillance?

      None of these have subsided or decreased under tRump, who is Russia's candidate of choice.

      So yeah, fuck those Russians.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2020 @ 7:31am

    The usa does not ban vpns, or encrypted email, or ask every messaging service to provide backdoors to the government.Russia is now a surveillance state like china .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave P., 22 Feb 2020 @ 10:02am

    Dictators

    I wouldn't trust Putin any further than I could throw him, which might not be very far, judging by recent pictures that show his face looking decidedly porky. Same goes for ol' Trumpy baby in the hurling department. Neither have any scruples.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2020 @ 4:10pm

      Re: Dictators

      lol. Or so the ridiculous yelling people on CNN/MSNBC would have it. But they also think that a black hole could make airplanes vanish.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2020 @ 6:53am

        Re: Re: Dictators

        It is funny that some consider CNN, MSNBC as liberal outfits ... and yet I just read about MSNBC freaking out over the fact that Bernie took Nevada. These are liberals? lol, uh huh

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 9:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Dictators

          CNN and MSNBC are so leftist and they flat out lie non-stop. Do you know why they are freaking out? Because Bernie is running on the Democrat Ticket and yet he's not a Democrat. He's not even an insane leftist. He's a flat out a Socialist, almost communest. You do know he Honnymooned in Russia. Back then it was the U.S.S.R, and I'm sure he was followed around by the KGB as that is what they would do when what few Americans flew there. This was really the Cold War time. He has even said he's for Food Lines!!!

          Bernie has no chance against Trump. If he won, the markets would crash. There goes your 401K and it only gets worse from there. This is why even those Channels and the Democrat party don't like him. The problem is, all the other people are insane leftists. Free everything including for Illegals, and basically the world with Open borders they all want. Of course the government doesn't have money, it takes it from people in the form of taxes. Not even the rich could pay a fraction of it with 100% of taxes.

          There are no Moderates running for the Democrat party. Biden may be the closest to the moderates but he has a long list of other issues, including what seems like early-onset Alzheimers. Have you heard him try to speak recently? Sentences that make zero sense at all. Time after time after time. Even during the debate and the others were confused with what he said. It was jibberish.

          In 2016 the Democrat party screwed over Bernie to get Hillary. They have been trying to do it this time also and yet it hasan't worked.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 12:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Dictators

            You are either very ignorant or a conniving mouthpiece, I have no way of knowing which or maybe both are applicable.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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