The Russian government’s decision to block another encrypted email provider is an attempt to tighten its grip on communications in the country.
According to Milich, the evidence includes a recorded conversation from an unidentified agent with Skiff’s routing administrator, in which the agent requests that all traffic to Skiff be redirected to another service. The conversation also reveals that the organization responsible for ordering the block is likely connected to the Russian government.
Since protonmail and tutanota were both blocked in Russia, many people believe that this is a sign of Putin’s repressive regime. Even though these email encrypted services offer more security than other alternatives, they are still vulnerable to government spying.
It is unclear why Skiff was blocked by Russian authorities. The infographic accompanying the article lists several politically themed websites that have been blocked in recent months, but Skiff does not appear among them. It is possible that the site was banned because of its content or for posing a threat to the government’s monopoly on information.
Stanislav Shakirov, technical director and co-founder of Roskomsvoboda, told TechGround that the block 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.” Mr Shakirov said that this kind of blocking usually lasts for 72 hours, but it could be longer depending on how quickly the offending site can be identified and blocked. He added that Roskomsvoboda will continue to monitor developments around this issue, as it believes in ‘a free market with rules.’
Due to the blocking of Skiff.com by the Russian government, many users are unable to access the site and its services. This has caused some users to switch to other methods of accessing Skiff, such as using VPNs or browser plugins that allow access through proxies.
Since the Skiff app stopped working in Russia last week, users there have complained about frustrating connection errors. Milich said that the company has seen an 81% decrease in traffic from Russia since last week and that he has received several complaints from users in Russia that the service is not usable anymore. With so many people now using other platforms to get their news, it seems likely that Skiff’s declining popularity in Russia will only continue.
Skiff is a popular online messenger in Russia, because it is easy to use and offers great customer service. The company has half a million users in Russia, and continues to grow rapidly as more people discover its benefits.
As Skiff strives to create an internet where our personal information is not shared, bought, or sold, they have had to confront suppression by governments and organizations who view their services as a threat. Despite this resistance, the company’s co-founders remain committed to their mission of providing products for private communication and freedom.