July 31, 2014 19:31

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Internet

Deputies prepare new rules to tighten control over Internet

3.07.12 13:20    By Ekaterina Vinokurova, edited by Karina Ayvazova

 The main goal of changes in Internet sphere is said to be protecting children from pedophilia and suicidal information

The main goal of changes in Internet sphere is said to be protecting children from pedophilia and suicidal information   Photo: iStockPhoto


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The State Duma is planning to create a united list of websites which contain "prohibited information," as well as an automatic blocking program for such websites. These new steps will be made on the grounds of "protecting children from harmful information."

Deputies say that the main goal of changes in the Internet sphere is to protect children from pedophilia and suicidal information which can be found online. The group of amendments, currently being written, would create a list of websites which contain "information prohibited from distribution in the Russian Federation." 

United Russia deputy Ilya Kostunov told Gazeta.ru that the renewed law will not only prohibit websites with child pornography and suicidal information, but any website which is assessed by secret agencies as "extremist."

As soon as the website is included in the list, the host of the "guilty" website is located must inform its owner and demand the website be deleted immediately. If the owner does not delete the website during the next 24 hours, Internet providers must block it. If nothing is done, both the website owner and the provider would share responsibility. 

"If the renewed law touched upon only pedophiliac content websites, that method would be positive," said Just Russia deputy Ilya Ponomarev, "but it is impossible to use the blurred definition 'Internet extremism.'"
"If the law contains an article about deleting not only websites containing pedophiliac or suicidal information, but "extremist" websites as well, and if business are made responsible for deleting or blocking these websites, this will be a catastrophe. Business would definitely play it safe and block any and all websites that might cause the slightest discontent among authorities," Ponomarev said. 

Also being planned is the creation of a special automatic system that will block websites containing 'prohibited' information, said Kirill Kabanov from the  Presidential Human Rights Council.

"We have quite an ambivalent impression from these methods: on one hand, the authorities are trying to suppress the mass opposition protest. On the other hand, it looks like the lobbying of interests of one certain company," Kabanov said. 

The amendments have not yet been submitted to the parliament, but its supporters have already started to take it to the next level. According to deputy Kostunov, they have already started talks with social networks to reach deal in identifying users violating the new law. 

"Extremist materials in the Internet which bother the government can be divided into several groups, says Alexander Verhovskiy from the human rights watchdog "Sova." The first are those websites whose work is prohibited by the court because they have violated copyrights. The second group contains websites which contain prohibited literature, like those publishing Hitler's "Mein Kampf."  The third are those which contain information that might have gotten the prosecutors' interest on the matter of extremism. The last are defined by the Russian government quite freely, because there is no distinct definition of what exactly extremism is," the expert added. 

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