Russia’s digital regulator, Roskomnadzor, has said that ProtonMail has been blocked in the country because it, alleges, that the service is being used by bad actors to issue fake bomb threats. The regulator said that it had asked ProtonMail for help identifying the owners of the account but that ProtonMail was uncompliant; in response, ProtonMail said that it denies ever having received such requests from Russian authorities.
Commenting on the ban, ProtonMail said:
“We have received reports that ProtonMail and ProtonVPN are currently partially blocked in Russia. We are reaching out to the appropriate authorities to get the block lifted as soon as possible. We condemn this block as a misguided measure which only serves to harm ordinary people.”
According to Roskomnadzor, the bomb threats coming from ProtonMail accounts increased this month after it had banned StartMail which also boasts strong encrypted services. Despite the ban, ProtonMail says that Russians wanting to cause havoc will just use other services to carry out their activities.
If all this seems a bit familiar to you, that’s because Russian authorities blocked ProtonMail for a period of time last year using bomb threats as the excuse for the block. At some point between then and now it looks as though the service was unblocked so this new block could be lifted too.