RUSSIA TO BAN NUMEROUS WEBSITES
The imminent passage of a law in Russia would empower the Prosecutor General to restrict access to any website that encourages people to attend unsanctioned rallies. The sweeping nature of this legislation, first introduced in November 2013, has many concerned that its passage strikes at the heart of Internet freedom.
The catalyst for the law seems to be an ethnic riot which occurred outside of Moscow in mid-October. While the law is touted to specifically be applied to web content that encourages pogroms or otherwise violent riots, the wording is ambiguous and could empower the Russian government to ban websites which promote organized protests or rallies of any kind.
Past experience, especially with countries in the Arab region, have taught Internet users that laws of this type rarely bode well for online freedom. In many cases they are the doorway to more stringent censorship guidelines.
Which websites could be banned in Russia?
Under the proposed law, social media sites are particularly at risk. Sites like Facebook and Twitter would be particularly vulnerable because they serve as a notification system for gatherings and organized events.
This restrictions proposed by this legislation exceed any existing protocols for Internet restriction in Russia. RuNet, the Russia blacklist of restricted websites, has long targeted forms of pornography and information about suicide and illegal drugs, but under the RuNet guidelines website owners are given a warning and an opportunity to remove the objectionable content. The new law would allow for extrajudicial and immediate banning of websites with no grace period allowed for removal of content.
In banning social media websites like Facebook and twitter, the problem is that all users are affected instead of only those who are responsible for posting objectionable material. This means that many Russian citizens and expats in the country will lose the means of communicating with family and friends via these networks. Find our more about the story here
The time to get a VPN for Russia is now!
Citizens and expats in Russia need to take measures now to secure a VPN. The passage of this new law is imminent and could be completed at any time with little advance notice. It is also preferable to lock in a VPN service for a year, as some VPN providers may increase their pricing schedules to reflect the increase in demand.
VPN-accounts.com is committed to helping those in Russia who need VPN service through this crisis by keeping our service affordable and making the process of setting up a VPN hassle-free. Individuals can avoid potential trouble by taking action today.
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