Posted by: Benjamin Vitáris
November 30, 2015
The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Russia filed a suit against Rostec, a cyber defense company that was working with the Russian government, for the failure to reveal the details of Tor users in the requested time frame.
According to documents, the government and Rostec has a contract worth 3.9 million Rubles (around $60.000) for the company to “research the possibility of obtaining technical information on users of [the] anonymous network Tor and users’ equipment.”
Since Rostec did not hack into the Tor Project’s anonymous browser in order to reveal information about its users in time, the government is trying to end the contract with the tech firm. However, this is only the government’s viewpoint, since Vladimir Pleshakov, the lawyer who is representing Rostec in the case states that the Russian government just wants “to bring down the price of the contract or claim a penalty” and notes that despite this recent lawsuit, the contract with the government will continue, according to Pleshakov.
The Russian government in 2012 began to censure the websites President Vladimir Putin did not consider as appropriate, thus not giving approval to them. They did not think this new policy through for sure. According to the Washington Times, the number of Tor users in Russia grew from 20.000 to around 175.000 during that time. This statistic makes Russia the third most active country regarding the users of the Tor browser behind the USA and Germany. The metrics for this were provided by the Tor Project.
Recently, there has been some attacks or attempts for attacking the privacy of the Tor Project by governments in the world. About a week ago, there has been a $1 million affair between the Carnegie Melon University and the FBI for the deanonymizing Tor users in the past, which the two institutes deny, however, Tor Project states they have proof against the FBI and CMU in their attempt to uncover the hidden users of the anonymous browser.