ethernet port server
© Sputnik / Pavel Lisitsyn
Server in the machine room in the regional reference data processing center of Rostelecom in Yekaterinburg.
The Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media plans to prohibit websites from using encryption, enabling the country to more efficiently and successfully block access to banned online resources.

On Monday, the ministry submitted a draft bill to stop the use of encryption protocols in Russia, including DoH (DNS over HTTPS) and DoT (DNS over TLS), both of which aim to increase privacy and prevent eavesdropping on users.

According to officials, these modern encryption technologies enable the bypassing of website blocks, allowing people to access federally banned resources, reducing the effectiveness of internet filters for children.

"I believe that the publication of the draft law for public discussion is an effective way to attract attention to the problem," said Maxut Shadayev, the ministry's chief. "Public discussion will allow us to gather the full range of opinions and find the best solution."

In 2019, the popular web browser Mozilla Firefox was updated to include DoH by default. This automatic update was criticized by governments around the world, including in the United Kingdom. Britain's Internet Service Providers Association claimed that the new encryption would enable users to bypass blocks on restricted content, such as pornography. In response, Mozilla did a U-turn and removed DoH from the default settings of British users.

Modern technology, such as DoH and DoT, makes it much harder to restrict access to websites by hiding the URL and hostname. With newer encryption, it's simply not enough to just block the website's address.

In recent years, Russia's federal censor Roskomnadzor has had trouble blocking resources on its blacklist. In 2018, the ministry famously tried to stop access to the application Telegram, blocking millions of IPs, including those owned by Amazon and Google. Despite their best efforts, Telegram was still accessible in Russia. The ineffective ban was eventually lifted in 2020.