The law was signed this Sunday by the Russian president Vladimir Putin, which resulted in Snowden using Twitter for unleashing his rage connected to the Russia’s decision.
Snowden, the US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who has been sheltering in Moscow since 2013, called the decision a tragedy of policy, saying that this move will only make Russia less free and less safe. He also made a connection of the ban with China’s VPN technology ban that made Apple pull 60 VPN applications from their App Store in China during the weekend.
Snowden said that what was happening then, both in China and Russia, wasn’t a reasonable regulation but a violation of human rights. He explained that in order for the future generation to have the online liberties we did, harmless traffic has to become truly indistinguishable from the sensitive.
He also urged the tech industry workers to stand against the anti-VPN trend.
Snowden’s current work is being the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He has been known as an advocate of individuals protecting their communications and online activities, as well as his decision in 2013 to expose the NSA’s mass-surveillance activities.
He has, though, warned people in the past not to trust their VPNs too much, since the VPN operators could still be vulnerable to being hacked into and eventually exposing users.
Snowden originally bolted from the US to Hong Kong, where he famously started working with newspapers to expose the agency’s activities.
But then, while Snowden was trying to fly to Latin America, he ended up left in a Moscow airport due to the US cancelling his passport. The Russians offered him to stay, and that offer was extended for “a couple more years” in January this year.
VPNs are good, but their weakness is the single point of failure: hack or subpoena that one point to see everything. https://t.co/iUxkbJsoK2
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) December 30, 2015
While in Russia, Snowden has spoken about his opinion on the country’s surveillance policies.
In the middle of 2016, when the data-retention law was passed by the Russian government that forced communications providers to allow decryption of people’s messages, Snowden spoke about it and said that the decision was a violation of rights and should have never been signed.
He also criticized the so-called Blogger’s Law, which forced restrictions on what bloggers can write in 2014.
The latest law, banning VPNs, will come into effect in November this year. It is mainly intended to stop Russians viewing websites that are on the official state blacklist.