Russia’s telecommunications and media watchdog Roskomnadzor restored access to the Tor Project website, belatedly enforcing a court decision. The site was blacklisted last year, but lawyers successfully challenged the measure.
Roskomnadzor excluded the site of the Tor project from the black list of prohibited Internet pages
The Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Communications, also known as Roskomnadzor or RKN, has excluded the main Tor project site from its register of Internet sources restricted for disseminating prohibited information. Delisting follows a court decision and occurs with a two-month delay.
The government body took steps to restrict access to the site for Russian internet users in December last year. The measure was introduced in pursuance of the decision of the Saratov District Court of the end of 2017.
Lawyers for Roskomsvoboda, a non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting digital rights in Russia, challenged the decision of the regional court, citing procedural violations, including the absence of the copyright holder. In May, an appeals court overturned that decision.
“Roskomnadzor, of course, indecently delayed the unblocking of the site, because the decision to block it was canceled on May 19, and since then there have been no grounds for finding the Tor Project in the registry,” commented Ekaterina Abashina, a lawyer for Roskomsvoboda. represents the affected platform.
Quoted in ad On the NGO website, Abashina noted that Roskomsvoboda should have directly notified the regulator of the unreasonable delay, although Roskomnadzor was itself involved in the whole process. The response came a month later, and the agency simply stated that “we will unblock this site soon,” without specifying when.
The Roskomsvoboda expert also recalled that the court of appeal returned the case to the court of first instance for a new trial, the first meeting of which was to be held this week. Reporting on these developments, crypto news Forklog noted that in mid-July, the Tor Project team introduced an updated version of the Tor Browser designed to bypass such restrictions.
In the past few years, websites that publish information or offer services related to cryptocurrencies, as well as VPN providers, have also been harassed by Rostelecom, prosecutors and courts. However, the operators of such platforms have often been able to successfully challenge actions taken against them due to procedural irregularities or lack of clear regulations.
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