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Vladimir Putin, President of Russia and perennial mistruster of the WWW, wants to take greater control of the internet in the motherland. Two months ago, Putin passed a bill that that requires any website with daily page views over 3,000 to register with the government's media oversight body, the Roskomnadzor. Essentially, a state-approved media.
Tor, the US Navy designed, American funded browser that's famous for its ability to hide IP addresses and provide all-encompassing anonymity for internet users, has seen a surge in popularity in Russia as Putin has sought to tighten his grip on the net – Tor now boasts over 200,000 concurrent users in the country. Unsurprisingly, Putin's after that too now.
The Russian government is offering rewards of around £68,000 to any researchers who can provide information about Tor and crack ways to de-anonymize the browser, with the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs accepting submissions until August.
With Russia annexing countries, showing no tolerance of LGBT rights and banning swear words, it's hardly a surprise that citizens want to keep their online lives anonymous - there's probably A LOT to discuss that they wouldn't want the government to hear. Russian Tor users must be vigilant - Putin and a gang of online bounty hunters are coming.
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot
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