This is not good news, but you can still get a small VPS in Russia and run your own VPN. I know, it's hard to make that equally anonymous, but it's a cheap alternative for most purposes.
VPN provider Private Internet Access (PIA) says its servers have been seized by the Russian government, so has quit the country in protest at its privacy laws. The company has sent an e-mail to users claiming some of its servers have been seized, even though the enforcement regime – in which all Internet traffic has to be …
"Recommendations for VPS provider?"
I currently have one in StPetersburg from VirtWire for about 4 bucks a year. Very small and NAT, but the price is right. :) Vstoike.ru is probably 10 times that, but comes highly recommended. There are others if you look around. Perhaps here: http://lowendstock.com/
"but you would still be covered by the same laws that took these out."
As an individual, effectively no. There are lots of laws in Russia, just like anywhere else, but nobody bothers. For example, I have several Russian domain names, and the registration criteria of those appears very strict and complicated. The reality is that nobody cares and as an individual nobody will ever bother you. Anyway, it is dubious that an individual can be forced to keep records of their own activity on their own computers - virtual or not. Also, from my interaction with a few server folk there, Russia is nowhere near what the Western press would portray in regard to government imposing on individuals.
Anyway, it is dubious that an individual can be forced to keep records of their own activity on their own computers - virtual or not.
This is true. However with a commercial VPN service, the purpose of the VPN operator keeping records is to identify which of their users was responsible for some particular traffic that was tracked back to an IP address owned by the VPN service. But if some illegal-in-Russia activity is tracked to your personal server, there is only one record required - the owner/operator of the server. Easily obtainable unless you pay with bitcoin and otherwise go out of your way to be untraceable, and that in itself might raise red flags.
My first guess is that Putin, or a close friend of his, has recently bought a boatload of Seagate and/or WD stock...
That, or someone who has absolutely no idea what they're talking about is writing laws again.
I know which explanation is more likely, but I also know which one I prefer.
Why would law makers care about the costs that the public ends up paying?
Of course, if all web browsers suppliers added a "poke random web sites every 30 seconds" by default you could see those logs grow by a factor of hundreds and maybe then the big ISPs would have to make a noise.
>> maybe then the big ISPs would have to make a noise.
Oh, they'll be making quite a lot of noise anyway: all those disks and the HVAC required to keep them operational!
More seriously, while your point regarding the actual behaviour of lawmakers seemingly everywhere is well-made and unfortunately apparently very accurate, in theory they should very well care about not wasting the public's money. It's, in fact, quite high on their job description, I think!
In his criticism of these new laws, Edward Snowden says that they will cost providers something like $33 billion to implement:
Not so sure if it is wise of him to be criticising Russia while he is their guest, but I imagine he's done the calculations on that as well.
Some quotes from the article (supporting the idea above that the lawmakers have absolutely no idea what they are talking about):
<<Vladimir Gebrielyan, the CTO of one of Russia's largest Internet companies, Mail.ru, wrote in a column published by RBC on June 23 that Russia simply does not have the data storage capacity to store so much data. “The storage dimensions required for this are unprecedented: It would take all the data-storage factories in the world producing systems for years just for Russia.”>>
<<Considering that it takes three to four years to build a data center, that there isn't enough power generation in the European part of Russia to support the centers, and that some 5 trillion rubles would need to be spent upgrading communications lines to facilitate the increased traffic, the Yarovaya laws are not feasible, Gebrielyan wrote.>>
<<Russia's Culture Ministry has become a surprising voice of reason amid the Yarovaya debate. There are so many complications that even Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov, said on June 29, “there will be serious issues with the application of this law. We are confident it will require a number of amendments.”>>
One of the big problems that most nations states currently have while waging their own War on Privacy is that the data is often not actually physically present within territory they control.
The fix is to force providers to keep that data in a location they can easily launch a police raid against.
I expect to see more of these types of laws shortly.
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