A legal challenge against the blocking of Tor in Russia was successful. However, the government has filed another legal process to block the privacy-focused browser and has broadened the case to involve Google.
The Russian government, which seeks to control the information citizens have access to by blocking thousands of websites, views Tor, and other tools like VPNs, that allow unfiltered access to information as a threat.
In 2017 a court gave the government the authority to order the blocking of Tor. But the blockade was implemented, without warning in December 2021. In partnership with a digital rights group called Roskomsvoboda, Tor challenged the blocking in court.
They argued that the decision to block Tor was illegal because Tor was not involved, which is a violation of procedural rights.
According to an announcement by Roskomsvoboda, the court agreed with their argument and ordered Tor to be unblocked.
However, as reported by Torrent Freak, the battle is not won yet. The government has launched another legal process to block Tor and they have involved Google. The prosecution wants the court to ban Tor and to order Google to ban the Tor browser’s app from the Play Store.
Google is not exactly in good standing with the Russian government. Over the past year, the tech giant has been fined repeatedly for hosting content that has been deemed “prohibited” by the Russian government on its video-sharing platform YouTube. The company also blocked Russian state-run media outlets on YouTube.