Snowden Criticises Russian Decision To Ban VPNs

Edward Snowden has laid into the Russian government for banning the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other tools that people can use to circumvent censorship and surveillance.

Russian president Vladimir Putin  signed the law on Sunday 30th July, prompting a Twitter tirade from Snowden, the US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who has been sheltering in Moscow since 2013.

Snowden called the decision a "tragedy of policy" that would make Russia "both less safe and less free". He also linked the government's move to China's crackdown on VPN technology, which led Apple to pull dozens of VPN apps from its Chinese App Store over the same weekend.
"Whether enacted by China, Russia, or anyone else, we must be clear this is not a reasonable 'regulation,' but a violation of human rights," Snowden wrote, arguing that: "If the next generation is to enjoy the online liberties ours did, innocuous traffic must become truly indistinguishable from the sensitive."

He also appeared to urge tech industry workers to push back against the anti-VPN trend.

Snowden is  the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. In line with his 2013 decision to expose the NSA's mass-surveillance activities, he has long been an advocate of individuals being able to protect their communications and online activities.

However, he has previously  warned against people relying too much on VPNs, because their operators may be vulnerable to hacks or subpoenas that could expose users. In 2014 US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the National Security Agency and GCHQ could turn on smartphones remotely, even when they were switched off. Now, three years later, several smartphone manufacturers have started introducing non-removable batteries.

The former NSA contractor originally fled from the US to Hong Kong, where he famously started working with newspapers to expose the agency's activities. 

ZDNet:      SputnikNews

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