Thursday, October 25, 2012

Russia has strict Internet censorship law that can put service providers in peril

The Washington Post occasionally includes paid supplements from other countries, and Wednesday Oct. 24 it’s supplement “Russia Now” had a disturbing article “Bracing for Internet blacklist?” by Anna Arutunyan.

She describes a recently passed law and proposed amendments  in Russia that would give the government the power to describe a website as “illegal” and require a service provider (or shared hosting service) to remove the site within 24 hours or the entire service could be removed.  Such tactics have happened in the U.S. with sites determined by customs to be selling counterfeit goods.

According to the article, the presence of a video like “Innocence of Muslims”, if not removed, could cause an entire service like YouTube to be shut down in the Russian Federation.

In other ways, the new bill sounds a bit like the American law COPA, which was ruled unconstitutional in 2007.

There is an article about the passing of the bill in July 2012, by Alexander Kilyakov, here

The “Russia Now” insert also has am op-ed on p. H4, “The Third Angel”, titled “Free Speech in Peril”, by Konstantin von Eggert, which suggests that a court in one autonomous region (Chechnya) can ban a video for the entire Russian Federation. I’m not sure how this can make sense. 

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