Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses How Instagram Gave In To Russia’s Censorship

Instagram has just removed posts by Russia’s opposition leader, Aleksei Navalny. The posts showed Russia’s deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko meeting with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on a yacht full of escorts. Navalny posted a video with the same information on YouTube.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, confirmed that it had decided to comply with Russia’s request, saying that when governments believe something on the Internet violates their laws, they may contact companies and ask to restrict that content. It is not clear how the opposition leader’s video breached any specific Russian legislation – however, it was removed

Internet censorship in Russia is constantly tightening, and many websites are blocked for no apparent reason. A new law has brought tighter control over which websites Russians can access, enabling the government to disable access to the sites of “undesirable organizations” without a court order.

Those who still want to access the blocked access, use VPNs – Virtual Private Networks that connect Internet users to a server in another country, where these particular websites are not blocked. In addition, VPNs encrypt users’ communication between their device and a VPN server into a secure tunnel, invisible to any third parties.

Unfortunately, Russia has been trying to control VPNs as well. VPNs, which allow bypassing Internet restrictions, are now required to block the websites that are on Russian government’s list.

Many VPNs are not complying with the Russian government’s censorship requirements. For example, NordVPN is still working in Russia as before, giving its Internet users the possibility to access any website without restrictions. That includes mobile users of services such as Instagram who can use NordVPN on their Android and iOS devices.

“NordVPN stands for freedom of speech and against any kinds of censorship and provides a product that allows people to browse the Internet freely. We will not comply with any censorship requests, and will keep offering our service to any Internet users who need to access the free Internet safely,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.

 

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