Private Internet Access (PIA), a foreign VPN provider, has announced they are ceasing all operations in Russia due to a new law.
According to a notice sent to customers, a new Russian law was passed that mandated that all service providers log all regional traffic for up to one year. This new requirement has prompted PIA to seek to do business elsewhere.
The provider writes in a blog post:
“We have decided not to do business within the Russian territory. We’re going to be further evaluating other countries and their policies.”
Edward Snowden criticized the new law as well, calling it extreme and cost-prohibitive:
“Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for Russia.”
A particular target because of outspoken opposition to logging
PIA holds that their prioritization of user privacy caused them to be a target of the Russian government.
The provider explains:
“We believe that due to the enforcement regime surrounding this new law, some of our Russian Servers (RU) were recently seized by Russian Authorities, without notice or any type of due process. We think it’s because we are the most outspoken and only verified no-log VPN provider.”
Despite the seizure, PIA assured its users that their data had not been compromised, due to the very same practices which ran them afoul of the new law in the first place.
They say in the blog post:
“Luckily, since we do not log any traffic or session data, period, no data has been compromised. Our users are, and will always be, private and secure. Upon learning of the above, we immediately discontinued our Russian gateways and will no longer be doing business in the region.”
Russia’s mixed internet privacy record
These latest developments are only part of a long history of struggles with internet freedom. When the United Nations passed a resolution declaring internet access to be a human right, Russia was among the members standing in vigorous opposition.