Tutanota cries 'censorship!' after secure email biz blocked – for real this time – in Russia

Move over, there's plenty of room on Putin's naughty step


Fresh from last week's controversy with a US telco, German secure email biz Tutanota has declared today that the Russian authorities have pulled the plug on its services.

Russia's move appears to be a continuation of domestic policy aimed at shutting out foreign-owned services that it cannot control or influence.

In a statement announcing the block, Tutanota co-founder Matthias Pfau lamented the spread of "censorship" online.

"We condemn the blocking of Tutanota. It is a form of censorship of Russian citizens who are now deprived of yet another secure communication channel online. At Tutanota we fight for our users' right to privacy online, also, and particularly, in authoritarian countries such as Russia and Egypt."

Tutanota reckoned that VPNs and Tor still worked as a means of accessing the site locally, it said on its corporate blog.

The block comes just days after American telco AT&T was accused of blocking the email provider under murky circumstances, though an AT&T spokesman denied there was “any blocking” and put it down to a technical glitch.

Tutanota joins fellow Western email provider ProtonMail in Vladimir Putin's internet naughty corner. Last year ProtonMail found itself inaccessible by Russians, though it took unspecified technical measures to ensure this was a short-lived block.

This is not the first time that Tutanota has been blocked: US telco Comcast was accused by Pfau of blocking his business for one night in March 2018, apparently triggering "hundreds" of complaints.

"Tutanota is also being blocked in Egypt since October 2019," lamented Pfau in today's statement.

Russia has long been trying to wall itself off from the wider internet, going as far as to mandate the inclusion of Russian software in domestically sold smart devices. Censorship is, as we in the West know, a feature of life under communist or post-communist regimes. ®

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