UPDATE 3: Watchdog explains short muting of social nets by tech reasons
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MOSCOW, Apr 27 (PRIME) -- The Russian communications service explained on Friday a short blocking of IP addresses of a number of big foreign and local social networks, amid the situation about Telegram’s closure, by technical reasons, and said the resources are muted no more.
Kommersant business daily reported earlier that the communications service had added several IP addresses of Internet giant Yandex and of social networks VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook and Twitter to the register of banned websites. The list also contained IP addresses of Internet company Yahoo and Russian portal LiveInternet.
The authority said in a Facebook post, “In view of media reports on blocking of IP addresses of Russian and foreign social networks we inform: IP addresses of social networks are free from any blocking. A short-term presence on the register (of banned resources) of certain IP addresses was caused by technological features of the system’s work.”
The watchdog said it had not sent these addresses to connection operators to limit access to the resources.
The authority is closing the IP addresses used by Telegram, which was blocked nationwide earlier in April, which has provoked issues in work of some third-party resources.
Yandex is waiting for further explanations from the service on having added some of its IP addresses to the register, while the effort to block Telegram has hit the whole Runet, the Russian-speaking segment of the Internet.
Five IP addresses of Yandex were on the register for about two hours last night. “The shift in charge of our technical specialists was actively monitoring the situation all night long and supported full availability of our services. We’re waiting for explanations from the communications service,” a Yandex spokesperson said.
“We do not think the situation is normal. The Russian market can develop only in the environment of open competition. Restricted access to global and Russian online services will damage the Runet in first place. We view a lack of liberty and a lack of choice for users as the most dangerous consequence of blocking.”
“The absence of openness and competition on the internal market does not only worsen the quality of products, which makes users suffer, but also deprives the country of an opportunity of technological competition on global markets in the future.”
A spokesperson for the communications service attributed continued issues in the work of third-party resources to actions of a number of foreign hosting providers that are still providing Telegram with their services. Actions of foreign companies are “an intentional obstruction of execution of the decision of the Tagansky District Court of Moscow regarding Telegram.”
The court’s decision obliges not only the watchdog but also other entities, like connection operators and hosting providers, to stop creating technical conditions for Telegram’s work in Russia, the spokesperson said.
Social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, both owned by Internet company Mail.Ru Group, said they constantly monitor the availability of their resources and try to ensure trouble-free functioning of their services.
Because of the blocking of VKontakte’s IP address, a part of the social network’s users were also cut from the resource for some time, VKontakte Managing Director Andrei Rogozov said in a VKontakte post.
“Due to unstable work because of the communications service’s blocking, we had to switch off the integration of the ReCaptcha service, which VKontakte uses to fight against spam, and support of the AMP technology, instantly opening external pages in our mobile applications,” he said.
Rogozov also said, “We see how a lack of understanding of principles of work of today’s Internet limits access to multiple resources. The services used by millions of people are fully or partially unavailable. It restricts or aggravates work of businesses, primarily technological ones.”
VKontakte will launch voice and video calls with the end-to-end encryption in the nearest time. “This is how most of leading services of message exchange work in the world. The end-to-end encoding ensures confidentiality of talks and protection from leak of access to any third party,” Rogozov said.
The technology makes it impossible to hand over any keys or access to information beyond a user device. “We see the future of the Internet as a safe area, where everyone can be certain of safety of their data. One of the core technologies, which guarantee security of data, is the end-to-end encryption, which takes place on an end device of the user,” Rogozov said.
Mail.Ru Group said it launched proxy-servers to solve possible problems caused by blockings, although the company did not attribute the move to any precise closures.
Messenger Viber, whose users have massively complained about access issues, plans to fully restore access to its resource in the country by April 30. “We’re resuming a full-fledged functioning of the service, some users witnessed troubles when sending photos and making calls. Engineers intend to complete fixing activities by the end of the week,” Yana Rozhkova, head of communications at Viber in the CIS, said.
Russian businessman Alexander Vikharyov filed a 5 million ruble lawsuit to court against the communications service to reclaim losses suffered after rotating blocking of third-party resources in pursuit of muting Telegram, as his spokesperson said, which has become the first motion of this kind.
Vikharyov runs a company attracting investments in commercial real estate. The businessman received complaints from clients on their inability to get registered on the platform of his company following actions of the communications watchdog. A number of servers of Vikharyov’s company that are located on a foreign domain were blocked as well.
“The company has suffered losses in monetary terms of 5 million rubles…We ask to claim (this amount)...from the Finance Ministry and the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media in favor of firm Investori,” the lawsuit read.
(62.6027 rubles – U.S. $1)