How free is Russia’s Internet?

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Casper, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Casper
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    Casper Member

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    Internet is a free space in Russia. It is a place where people resolve a host of issues related to their world-view as well as intellectual and psychological problems. Of course, the Internet space is nonetheless under the control of the authorities, especially when online discussions concern issues that could endanger the powers that be.

    Alexander Prokhanov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Zavtra shares his view on the issue.

    I believe that the Internet is a free space in Russia. It is a place where people resolve a host of issues related to their world-view as well as intellectual and psychological problems. Of course, the Internet space is nonetheless under the control of the authorities, especially when online discussions concern issues that could endanger the powers that be. In such cases, suppression or support groups are established to contribute an element of white noise, taking the discussions, especially political ones, to the irrational extremes. These groups are used to suppress political initiatives.

    The new law on the police, which came into force on March 1, 2011, includes a clause allowing them to close down any online resource without a court order. I don’t think this measure really aimed at fighting copyright violations. It is sheer banditry, because a blog or a website, especially one that is registered as a media outlet, is no different from a newspaper or TV show. Such attacks “at the dead of night,” without any warning or even a court ruling, are crude and abhorrent acts of force.

    I think that such attacks, or even the introduction of limitations on individual sites or, worse still, the whole of the national Internet space can only be justified and are only permissible in a state of emergency announced by the authorities to combat a terrorist threat, anti-government revolt, or massive attacks on the Constitution.


    Full version of his interview was originally published on valdaiclub.com
     
  2. smchugh
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    smchugh Rookie

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    Despite various outlets reporting laws being slowly pushed through the Russian Duma towards the end of the past decade which allowed for various Internet shutdowns due to radical, terrorist, or anti-govermental rhetoric, there have been very few incidents of Russian censorship or shutdowns of various Internet related sources since their inception. One such instance of of government intervention occured when a district court in the town of Komsomolsk-on-Amur requested the ISP Rosnet to block all content on Youtube due to video posts of an ultra-nationalist in 2010.

    It is disturbing whenever a government intercedes on the right of freedom of speech, however, this has not been seen to be a documented issue with Russia at this point. When compared to the extreme censorship in China, the laws in place seem mundane. This is not to be said that the current laws could not be expanded on and enforced in exceedingly broad definitions. Given Russia's history of highly centralized government, it is not outside of rational thought to see these laws as a base to expand upon in the future.

    On the other hand it is quite simply possible that Russia will use these laws for simple protection from domestic and foreign threats. It is not only a given right for the government to protect its people, but it is its responsibility. Recently on January 26, 2011, President Medvedev released a statement supporting the freedom of the Internet and denouncing restrictions as they would "bring the world to stagnation."

    Although it cannot be certain on how much intervention the Russian government carries through on a normal basis, it seems at this point as if it is staying within its expected boundaries. This could change dramatically in short time whether it becomes public or not and is an interesting trend to watch which could indicate the future course the Russian government is headed down.
     
  3. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Russia's internet under hacker attack...
    :eusa_eh:
    Russians Battle Over Internet Freedom
    April 08, 2011 - A massive hacker attack knocked Russia’s most popular opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, off the internet Friday. Earlier this week, three days of hacker attacks repeatedly knocked out LiveJournal, the nation’s main platform for blogs.
    See also:

    Massive Russian hacker attack threatens freewheeling Ru.net
    April 8, 2011 - Security experts are confused about who is behind the far-reaching cyber attacks, as both Kremlin foes and officials are among those targeted.
     
  4. RadiomanATL
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    RadiomanATL Senior Member

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    As long as they pay their bill, I will allow them to have their webz.
     

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