First-of-its-kind VPN Lawsuit Was Filed Against The Russian Kremlin

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

There are over 150 VPNs that are currently blocked in Russia, but until now, none of them have challenged the Kremlin in a legal battle to secure the right to use a VPN.

The company spearheading the fight, HideMyName, began the lawsuit after finding a peculiar method used to disrupt their VPN service.

“The right to a VPN, which is designed to create a secure connection in an unsecured network, should be protected in court,” explains Sarkis Darbinyan, Head of legal practice at Roskomvosvoboda.

After numerous users began complaining that they couldn’t access their VPN, HideMyName investigated the issue. They found that the company wasn’t listed on the Roskomnadzor’s list of blocked sites, which would usually explain the connection issues.

Instead, the server wouldn’t establish communication via TLS protocol. Specifically, Port 433, the port responsible for transferring information via HTTPS protocol, was being secretly blocked.

“This is the first lawsuit because such blocking had never happened before,” Darbinyan explains to a Techradar researcher. “Until 2022, censorship in Russia was severe but quite primitive. According to decisions of different courts, websites of VPN services were blocked at different times, but you could still download the application and safely use the VPN service.”

HideMyName’s lawyers argue that the website doesn’t fit any of the criteria that Russia has outlined for bannable VPNs. The subtle means used to block their site in theory should violate Russian law.

“Since the summer of this year, we have already observed the blocking of popular protocols on which most well-known VPN services operate, including OpenVPN and Wireguard. And a week ago, test blocking of the modern Shadowsocks protocol was already underway.”

The argument that a VPN should be a human right stems from the idea that tools to protect an unsecured network are the only way a consumer can stay safe from anyone in the world finding out their IP address.

HideMyName is adamant about being ready to escalate the matter all the way to the UN Human Rights Committee if they can’t reach a resolution with the Roskomnadzor.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."