Report: Russian law against online extremism unclear and non-definitive
14.09.12 16:27 By Lev Makedonov, edited by Karina Ayvazova
The human rights center "Sova" has issued a report on the struggle against extremism in Russian internet over the last five years – during which the web has deeply penetrated into Russian society. The data allows us to forecast how newly introduced bills that fight against extremism online may work.
Until mid-2012 the legislation that was used to regulate Internet content included federal laws entitled "Communication," "Information," "the Protection of Information," and "the Media."
The new law "Protecting children from information which harms their health and development" has caused a series of questions among "Sova" experts.
Experts say that the method of enforcement has not yet been determined, and the text of the law mentions a non-existent list of materials which harm childrens' mental health, including extremist materials.
It is still not clear whether the authorities will block only those materials mentioned in the list or if they will also ban prohibited materials which have been digitalized and published online as well.
"Sova" does not exclude that Internet providers will use the filtering system Deep Packet Inspection, separating the data streams over a single URL-address and transfer protocols in order to implement the new law.
This system has been widely used in the U.S. since 2006, it also operates in China, its counterpart in Iran is used to block access to certain pages. One of the largest Russian providers, MGTS, has already announced that it has commissioned a DPI system developed by Cisco, which can handle traffic from more than 32 million simultaneous user sessions at a rate of 1.5 Gb / sec, with the potential to increase the processing speed up to 30 Gb / sec.
Some of the still-being-written Internet laws in Russia are not approved by "Sova" because they contain prohibiting points which are too loosely defined.
For example, according to the law "Improving regulation against extremism," any web links to a "black list" of publications is the same as spreading extremist materials, which "creates an unacceptable situation of legal uncertainty."
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