Online censorship in Russia
Russia has started to censor the internet years ago, but recently has tightened its grip further by also blocking access to news sites such as Deutsche Welle, BBC and more.
Our secure email service Tutanota has already been blocked in 2020 in an attempt to take away encrypted communication from Russian citizens. Regardless of the block, lots of our users still come from Russia.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, many tech companies no longer serve Russian citizens. Yet, we at Tutanota will not do the same: Our mission is to enable everyone to communicate in private. The right to privacy and freedom of speech are human rights that must be available everywhere in the world, also in Russia.
We are here to support the people. A lot of journalists and activists use Tutanota to protect their private communication from the government. Secure, encrypted communication gives people the power to organize and access information that are being blocked. End-to-end encryption means life or death for many people.
Bypass Russian block
Russian citizens have learned how to bypass the internet block by the Russian government.
Today many Russian can not access the Tor website anymore to download the Tor browser. To bypass this block, Tor has started to set up so called Tor Bridges - of which Russia represents the top country in regards to users via Tor Bridges.
If you can not download the Tor browser directly from the Tor website, the Tor team advises an alternative method on its website:
Step 1: Send a request to GetTor (email@example.com) specifying your operating system (and your locale). Ex: "windows es"
Step 2: GetTor will send you back a reply with links to download Tor Browser from supported providers.
Step 3: Download Tor Browser from one of the providers. When done, check the integrity of the downloaded file by verifying its signature.
Step 4: If required, get some bridges!
Here is a guide in Russian on how to set up Tor Bridges.
Media outlets offering Tor onion links
Following the tightened grip on the Russian internet by the government, lots of news outlets as well as social media sites have set up Tor onion URLs for their service.
Here is a list of services available via onion links so that people can inform themselves about current events:
BBC News in Ukrainian: https://www.bbcweb3hytmzhn5d532owbu6oqadra5z3ar726vq5kgwwn6aucdccrad.onion/ukrainian
BBC News in Russian: https://www.bbcweb3hytmzhn5d532owbu6oqadra5z3ar726vq5kgwwn6aucdccrad.onion/russian
BBC News internationally: https://www.bbcweb3hytmzhn5d532owbu6oqadra5z3ar726vq5kgwwn6aucdccrad.onion
Radio Free Europe | RFERL: https://www.rferlo2zxgv23tct66v45s5mecftol5vod3hf4rqbipfp46fqu2q56ad.onion
The New York Times: https://www.nytimesn7cgmftshazwhfgzm37qxb44r64ytbb2dj3x62d2lljsciiyd.onion
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is crucial, and it entails the right to access information freely.
It is great to see news sites increasingly offering Tor onion links, one of the most important tools we have to fight censorship.
Tor mission: "To advance human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open source anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding."
If you want to support the Tor project, do check out their website.