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Internet Blacklist Law Comes Into Force In Russia
200 days ago
(RTTNews) - Russia on Thursday enforced a new law that empowers authorities to ban or blacklist websites carrying contents deemed harmful to children, triggering fears that the move may lead to increased Internet censorship in the country.
The so-called Internet Blacklist Law was signed by President Vladimir Putin in July after both Houses of the Russian Parliament approved it. The measure amends the existing Information Act.
The new law allows relevant Russian authorities to ban or blacklist websites carrying child-unfriendly contents like sexual abuse of children, offering details about how to commit suicide, promoting use of drugs and distributing child pornography.
In cases where the offending websites cannot be shut down by the authorities, the new law authorizes them to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and web-hosting companies to bloc access to the offending material.
Although Russian Opposition parties as well as rights groups have slammed the legislation as part of President Vladimir Putin's efforts to retain firm control over the Internet, Telecom Minister Nikolai Nikiforov dismissed those allegations while addressing a meeting of Russian bloggers earlier this week.
"Internet has always been a free territory. The government is not aimed at enforcing censorship there," Russian media quoted Nikiforov as telling the conference in Moscow on Monday.
"LiveJournal, YouTube and Facebook showcase socially responsible companies. That means that they will be blocked only if they refuse to follow Russian laws, which is unlikely, in my opinion," he said, urging the Russian public not to be too skeptical about the enforcement of the new law.
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