28 Jul 2022 16:35

Tor anonymizer once again banned by court in Russia

SARATOV. July 28 (Interfax) - Saratov's Leninsky District Court has granted the claims of the Saratov district prosecutor's office in a case against the Tor network project website in Russia, the court told Interfax.

"The claims to recognize the information prohibited for distribution on the territory of the Russian Federation were granted," he told Interfax.

On December 7, 2021, the developers of Tor said they had received a notice from Roskomnadzor, which said that information prohibited in Russia must be removed from their website torproject.org, or else the website would be blocked in Russia. Later that day, Tor's official blog announced the blocking of the project's website in Russia. The entry in the register of information prohibited in Russia refers to a Saratov District Court ruling dated December 18, 2017.

On December 3, 2021, experts, who monitor Internet blockings, said that Russian providers had been blocking parts of the Tor network since December 1.

In January of this year, Tor Project Inc. appealed the district court's order blocking the website and asked that it be overturned because the company was not involved in the proceedings, yet the ruling affected its rights and interests.

On May 19, the Saratov regional court overturned the lower-court's ruling and sent the case for a review.

Tor (which stands for The Onion Router) is open software used to implement the second- and third-generation of so-called onion routing, a technology for anonymous data-sharing through a computer network. It is a system of proxy servers, which allows setting up an anonymous network connection and sending encrypted data through the network. The system is used by private individuals, public organizations, and media outlets for working with informers, businesses, and intelligence services. The most frequent accusation against Tor is the potential for its wide use by criminals.

The project's blog says that Russia ranks second globally by Tor users, who number over 300,000 daily.