Russia Rolls out Their Censored Version of the Web

Author: Adi Gaskell
Published: November 01, 2012 at 5:38 am

internet freedomJust over a month ago the Iranian government rolled out their own version of the Internet, minus most of the sites western users have grown to know and love, including all social networks.

Whilst not quite as draconian as that, a new law in Russia has worrying signs for those who value freedom.

The new law will allow the Russian government to blacklist and force websites offline without any kind of legal process.

The law is being marketed as one aimed at protecting children from harmful content, but many are fearful that it will instead be used to censor content.

If the state finds such apparently harmful sites, they will first try and have the site taken down.  If that fails they will order Russian ISPs to block access to the sites.

Suffice to say that the move has many critics.

"Of course there are websites that should not be accessible to children, but I don't think it will be limited to that," Yuri Vdovin, vice-president of Citizens' Watch, a human rights organisation based in Saint-Petersburg, told the BBC.

"The government will start closing other sites - any democracy-oriented sites are at risk of being taken offline.

"It will be [an attack on] the freedom of speech on the internet."

A number of large Russian web companies have also protested against the new law, including search engine Yandex, social media site and the Russian language version of Wikipedia.

"The way the new law will work depends on the enforcement practice," said a spokesman for Yandex.

"Yandex, along with other key Russian market players, is ready to discuss with lawmakers the way it is going to work."

Whilst such laws will shock many in the west, UK politicians revealed last year how keen they would be on being able to shut down social networks during periods of civil unrest.

It seems that the freedom of the web is sadly not as secure as it should be.


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Article Author: Adi Gaskell

A writer on management issues for publications such as Professional Manager, CMI, HRM Today, Business Works and Technorati. I also cover social media for Social Media Today, DZone and Social Business News.

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