Roskomnadzor, Russia's communications regulator, has extended its internet blocks in a bid to stop Russians from using encrypted messaging app Telegram by adding 50 anonymising and VPN services to its burgeoning block list.
The extension of the anti-Telegram web blocks, which have disrupted online business in Russia, was confirmed by the agency's deputy director Vadim Subbotin. Roskomnadzor, meanwhile, has refused to confirm which services have been blocked.
The new blocks ordered by the regulator come after NordVPN last week revealed that it's seen a 300 per cent increase in the number of Russian users signing up to its service since the Telegram ban went into effect on 16 April.
Telegram has only become more popular in Russia with many more downloads compared to the week before
"People simply need to connect to a VPN server to reach any IP address where they can download Telegram," NordVPN chief marketing officer Marty P Kamden told V3 sister site The Inquirer.
He continued: "Many Russians are becoming more technically savvy because of the Telegram block and will now be able to use VPN to unblock other sites blocked in Russia."
Kamden went on to suggest that the attempt to block Telegram had ultimately recommended the app to ordinary Russians.
"The Russian government is failing in its task to block the app. Telegram has only become more popular in Russia with many more downloads compared to the week before, and the government has shown its complete lack of understanding of how the technology works."
The government has shown its complete lack of understanding of how the technology works
Before it moved to stamp out VPN and anonymizer services, the Russian government blocked around 20 million Google and Amazon-owned IP addresses that Telegram was using to continue operating in the country.
As a result, some Russian users ended up having problems accessing Google services like Search, Gmail, and push notifications for Android apps, according to reports, with others reporting that they've since been unable to access online banking services.
Google confirmed the move last month, saying in a statement: "We are aware of reports that some users in Russia are unable to access some Google products, and are investigating those reports."
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