The website of the Tor Project banned again by Russian court after being unblocked by Russia

A few days ago, lawyers for Roskomsvoboda, a Russian NGO that advocates for an open self-regulatory network and the protection of Internet users' digital rights, reported that the website of the Tor Project was finally unblocked in Russia. Then, Russia's telecommunications and mass media regulator (also known as Roskomnadzor or RKN) has restored access to the website of the Tor Project, delaying implementation of the court ruling. The site was blacklisted last year, but the measure was successfully challenged by lawyers.

But then, Roskomsvoboda added that the Leninsky District Court in Saratov (where the Tor Project case was eventually remanded) partially satisfied the prosecutor's request and ruled that the information contained in the Tor Browser software application and the Tor Browser application itself were banned.

According to the Russian court, "The decision was made to include the information contained in the Tor Browser software application, the Tor Browser software application on the Google Play software application page in the Unified Register of Domain Names, the index of website pages on the Internet and web addresses for the purpose of identifying Internet sites containing information whose dissemination is prohibited in the Russian Federation grounds."

On December 7, 2021, Tor Project, the developer of the Tor network, stated that they received a notice from the RCN that it was necessary to remove information banned in Russia from its website or it would be blocked. Later the same day, an announcement about the blockade appeared on Tor's official blog. The Russian Federation's banned information registry cited the December 18, 2017 decision of the Saratov District Court as justification for the move.

On December 3, 2021, experts monitoring Internet blockades reported that individual nodes on the Tor network had begun to be blocked by several Russian Internet service providers. According to the developers, these blockades began as early as December 1.

Tor Project Inc. appealed the district court's ruling that became the basis for blocking the site in January this year and asked that the ruling be annulled because the organization was not involved in the case, even though the ruling affected its interests.

On May 19, the Saratov District Court overturned the decision of the court of first instance and sent the case back for a new trial.

On May 31, Roskomnadzor asked Google LLC to remove the Tor Browser application from GooglePlay in accordance with the ruling of the Saratov District Court.

The court ruled that the information contained in the Tor browser "is prohibited from dissemination in Russia, as is the software application itself, which allows access to prohibited content and contributes to the commission of criminal offences".

Tor (The Onion Router) is open source software used to implement the second and third generation of so-called "onion routing," a technology for exchanging anonymous information over computer networks. It is a system of proxy servers that allows you to establish anonymous network connections, where data within the network is transmitted in an encrypted form. The system is used by individuals, public organizations, and the media to work with whistleblowers, businesses, and special services. The most commonly heard allegation against the Tor network is its potential widespread use for criminal purposes.

Over the past few years, websites that publish information or provide services related to cryptocurrencies, as well as VPN providers, have also been targeted by Russian telecommunications regulators, prosecutors' offices and courts. However, operators of such platforms have often successfully challenged measures against them due to procedural irregularities or lack of clarity.

From:On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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