U.S. Has Stepped Up Funding for VPN Companies to Help Russians Evade Censorship
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According to five people familiar with the situation, the U.S. government has pushed new, increased funding into three VPN companies, nthLink, Psiphon, and Lantern, since the start of the Ukraine war to help Russians sidestep censors and access Western media.
A U.S. government-funded nonprofit organization, the Open Technology Fund (OTF), gave the VPN companies at least $4.8 million in U.S. funding between 2015 and 2021. However, the sources say that since February, the total funding allocated to the companies has increased by almost half in order to cope with the rise in demand in Russia. The funding flows through the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), a federal agency that oversees U.S. government-backed broadcasters, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well as via the Washington-based OTF, which is funded entirely by the U.S. government and overseen by the USAGM.
Posters advertising nthLink and other U.S.-government-ba…
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