A Russian court of appeals has overruled a regional court order that permitted the Tor Project's website to be blocked in the nation.
The matter has been returned to the court of the first instance for further consideration due to infringements during the first procedures.
Roskomsvoboda is a non-governmental organization based in Russia that promotes open self-regulatory networks and the safeguarding of Internet users' digital rights, which assists with the unblocking of the Tor Project's Russian website.
The regional court's order to block torproject.org was overturned due to operational irregularities, primarily the failure to summon the owner, Roskomsvoboda reported this week. Lawyers from a non-governmental group dedicated to protecting the rights of Russian internet users were involved in the case, which was remanded to the Saratov region's first instance court.
The Tor Project's website was prohibited in December 2017 by a Saratov District Court order dated December 18, 2017. Ekaterina Abashina of Roskomsvoboda's legal team joined the online session in the appellate court. Since the ruling of the district court has been overturned, torproject.org should be unblocked, she said.
The defence had two key arguments to dispute the original decision, according to Abashina. First and foremost, the absence of a platform representative at the proceedings had an impact on the owner's rights and obligations. The transmission of information about VPN technology and anonymizers is not currently prohibited under Russian law.
The prosecution did not respond to the lawyers' complaint in writing, instead opting for a verbal objection. According to Abashina, Roskomnadzor, Russia's media watchdog, filed a written response stating the court had unrestricted rights to recognize any information as forbidden. According to the legal expert, Russian officials want to block access to the website since instructions on downloading the privacy-focused Tor browser were provided.
Ekaterina Abashina expects the new proceedings to start within a month and hopes that the court of first instance considers Roskomsvoboda's second point, that the dissemination of information about technologies like Tor is not prohibited in the Russian Federation, as well as attempts to summon the website's owner as required by law.
In recent years, Russian authorities have targeted sites that disseminate beneficial information and provide services to the crypto community. A court in Russia's Perm area ruled in June to shut down a number of platforms that explained how to convert cryptocurrencies for fiat money. Roskomnadzor took steps in December to block six VPN providers from assisting Russians in accessing "restricted" information. In Russian courts, several operators have successfully challenged these measures.
At last, this kind of illegal platform which hosts criminal conspiracies and illegal activities that threaten the country's integrity should be outlawed.