Russian web blacklisting law slammed as censorship
03 August 2012
A new law in Russia purporting to protect minors from dangerous websites has been criticised as a move to increase censorship in the country.
The law intends to target sites with illegal or dangerous content and prescribes for such sites to be put on a federal register and closed down without a court order. Sites that fall under the legislation include anything featuring child pornography, the promotion of drugs or tips for committing suicide.
The legislation was approved earlier this week and comes into force on August 6. Opponents to the country’s president Vladimir Putin have criticised the law as another step towards further control over the population and have raised fears that it could be used to extinguish political dissent.
Putin returned to power in May and has already introduced legislation to closely monitor political non-government organisations (NGO) that receive foreign funding as well as introducing heavy fines for unauthorised demonstrations.
Similar legislation allowing for websites to be shut down without a court order have recently been shot down in the US and Europe. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was fiercely opposed by several online businesses including Google and Wikipedia in January and more recently SOPA’s European analogue, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), was strongly opposed in the European parliament.
David Hing, London