The Oktyabrsky District Court of Tomsk convicted Georgy Belous, a resident of the city, for using a messenger capable of encrypting user actions on the Internet. He was sentenced to three years of restriction of freedom under Part 1 of Art. 273 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Creation, use and distribution of malicious computer programs), according to the website of the court,
The court considered the Vipole messenger as a “malicious program”, which a Tomsk citizen found the application in a search engine, downloaded it in 2018 and used until 2020. As a result, “the means of protecting computer information were neutralized, expressed in the impossibility of unambiguous identification of the user and his network activity on the Internet,” the court found. This case was investigated by the regional department of the FSB.
According to Alexei Lukatsky, a security specialist at Positive Technologies, a large number of programs that protect user privacy fall under the court's definition - from instant messengers to VPN services, the Moscow Time channel reports. “Given that today almost all instant messengers have such functionality, it turns out that almost every user of Telegram, Signal, Threema, Whatsapp (banned in the Russian Federation), etc. can be attracted. Russia and who do not comply with the requirements for identifying subscribers established by law,” Lukatsky said.