Russian minister outlines difficulties in ISP-blocking strategy

News on 25 Oct 2017

The Russian telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor has become notorious in the online gambling industry for its prolific use of ISP-blocking, but statements by the Minister of Communications, Nikolai Nikiforov, this week indicate that the watchdog may be struggling to combat rapid advances in technology that are enabling bolder operators and players to find workarounds.

Russian media reports on Nikiforov’s report to the Russian Duma are that he feels that current blocking tactics “…will not allow us to achieve the desired result, and technology will always be promptly designed for each lock, allowing it to be circumvented” and are therefore not really viable.

The minister’s solution is apparently to go after users by monitoring their searches for “this or that information” and how they access illegal content.

Whilst Nikiforov did not go into detail, there have been recent developments that suggest a tougher government approach will be implemented: Russian president Vladimir Putin has already signed off on new measures restricting the use of virtual private networks and similar workaround technologies; Roskomnadzor has negotiated an agreement with Russian search engines with a view to frustrating attempts by Russian punters to find gambling information, and has assembled a special department to ensure Russian online laws are obeyed.

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