The Russian government has blocked another encrypted email provider, according to a Russian digital rights organization and the email provider.
Last Wednesday, Roskomsvoboda, which describes itself as “the first Russian public organization active in protecting digital rights and expanding digital opportunities”, reported that an unknown Russian state organization has ordered the blocking Skiff, an email and cloud service provider launched last year. Since then, Skiff CEO Andrew Milich has shared evidence of the block with londonbusinessblog.com.
The block against Skiff comes three years after Russia blocked similar encrypted email services Proton post and Tutan notedemonstrating that President Vladimir Putin’s regime is resolutely combating encrypted communications services that allow its citizens to conduct conversations that are more difficult to spy on.
The Russian embassy in Washington DC did not respond to a request for comment. The Russian government’s censorship authority, commonly known as Roskomnadzor, also did not respond to an email requesting comment. from Roskomnadzor registry of the blocked sites, Skiff does not list as blocked at the time of publication.
Stanislav Shakirov, technical director and co-founder of Roskomsvobodatold londonbusinessblog.com that the blocking is in full effect and that “the blocking is done by the ISP on their equipment by the URL mask (*.skiff.com) and IP addresses.”
Shakirov explained that this results in Skiff.com and all its subdomains being blocked, “so Russian users who don’t use a VPN, browser plugins, or censorship bypass tools like Tor or Psiphon won’t be able to access Skiff services.”
Skiff’s Milich told londonbusinessblog.com that the company has seen an 81% decrease in traffic from Russia since last week, and he also shared a video of a user in Russia trying to log into Skiff, which ends with the user seeing a connection error . Milich added that he has received several complaints from users in Russia that the service is no longer usable.
According to Skiff, the company has half a million users in Russia.
“I started Skiff with a more personal vision of the internet, where our personal information is not shared, bought and sold. [Skiff’s co-founder ] Jason [Ginsberg] and I both have personal or professional connections to Russia — mine through Stanford, and Jason’s family escaped the Soviet bloc through a secret radio network in the late 1970s,” Milich said. “With the rapid adoption of our products and now their suppression, we have even more confidence and determination in our mission to build products for private communication and freedom.”