Russia puts first sites on new Internet blacklist

Nov 01, 2012
An Internet cafe in Moscow. Russia on Thursday put into force a new law on the Internet that allows the government to block websites with banned content, prompting fears that it will be used to suppress free speech.

Russia on Thursday put into force a new law on the Internet that allows the government to block websites with banned content, prompting fears that it will be used to suppress free speech.

The law, which was hastily voted in by the parliament despite opposition from major Internet companies, is officially intended to protect children from viewing unsuitable content.

It targets sites that contain child pornography, information on drugs or calls to commit suicide. It also includes sites that a court has ruled extremist.

But critics say its wording could be exploited to block opposition websites by planting banned material, potentially shutting down the most lively forum for in Russia.

"We are forced to conclude that no political will exists to resolve the law's contradictions and to eliminate those that pose threats to freedom," said in a critical statement.

Even the communications minister has warned that the law could be used to block a resource such as YouTube in Russia.

The government opened a website, www.zapret-info.gov.ru, that will publish the list of banned sites.

It said its experts had blacklisted six sites containing child pornography and that the owners had been informed by e-mail.

Its website does not reveal which sites, since users must enter an exact address to check whether a page or a site is listed.

The owner of the site or web host then has three days to remove content or block access.

If the site is still accessible, Internet service providers are obliged to block it, without any court decision necessary.

The site had been viewed more than 100,000 times and has fought off several hacker attacks, the watchdog said.

When the law was first proposed, the Russian version of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia protested with a temporary shutdown, while top search engine Yandex.ru ran a black banner on its main page.

The law's wording was then softened to make it less widely applicable.

Yet Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov warned in September that the law could be used to block Russians' access to YouTube over its postings of the anti-Islam film that sparked deadly rioting.

"It sounds like a joke, but because of this video ... all of could be blocked throughout Russia," he wrote on Twitter.

However he later clarified his comment, saying that while this was a theoretical possibility, he expected major Internet resources to abide by the .

Explore further: Twitpic to stay alive with new owner

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russia could block YouTube over anti-Islam film

Sep 18, 2012

A controversial new Russian media law could be used to block YouTube in the country over postings of the anti-Islam film that has sparked deadly rioting, the communications minister warned Tuesday.

New Russia internet law deemed censorship by critics

Jul 30, 2012

A new law seeking to protect minors from internet sites with harmful content comes into force in Russia on Monday amid criticism that it is a veiled move to increase censorship in the country.

Japan Internet providers block child porn

Apr 21, 2011

A group of Japanese internet service providers started blocking access to child porn websites on Thursday as part of efforts to crack down on the spread of sexually explicit images of children.

Australia delays Internet filter to review content

Jul 09, 2010

(AP) -- Australia's widely criticized proposal to mandate a filter blocking child pornography and other objectionable Internet content has been delayed at least a year so the government can review what content should be ...

Recommended for you

Facebook dressed down over 'real names' policy

Sep 17, 2014

Facebook says it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted profiles of self-described drag queens and others, but declined to change a policy requiring account holders to use their real names rather than drag names such as ...

Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

Sep 17, 2014

Online ratings operator Yelp agreed to pay $450,000 to settle US charges that it illegally collected data on children, in violation of privacy laws, officials said Wednesday.

User comments : 0