Russian Bloggers Target of New Internet Censorship Law

Russian president Vladimir Putin recently signed a controversial “internet censorship law” – now referred to as the “bloggers law” – which promises to give that government detailed “control over what is published online“, according to the New York Times report and an article published on the Web Host Industry Review website. The article indicates that this legislation, which will be officially effective on August 1st 2014, “will require popular bloggers to register with the government” and not “remain anonymous” as in the past.

The new law, signed by Putin on May 5th, will hold fines of “up to $142,000” over the heads of those who violate its restrictions, according to the article. The report also states that “any site with 3,000 visitors per day as a media outlet that is required to publish accurate information” – which is a requirement defined by the Russian government and could include “information critical of authorities or public figures“, as confirmed by the article. In addition, the article notes that web hosting companies may be required to surrender “information on popular bloggers at the government’s request” and “search engines and social networks must hold on to computer records (on Russian soil) of everything posted over the previous six months.”

China, Turkey and the country of Pakistan are other governments that have launched restrictions and “laws around online censorship” in the recent past, according to the article. The Russians have established additional laws of this flavor over the past year that allowed their government authorities to block “online news sites that reported on political demonstrations” and access to websites marked as “inappropriate to children“, according to the article. Viktor V. Yerofeyev, a popular Russian writer, was quoted in the New York Times article to say, “We feel like we are back in kindergarten again when they said, ‘Don’t pee in your bed and don’t eat with your hands and don’t use that word’…On the one hand, the Russian government says the Russian people are the best. On the other hand, it doesn’t trust the people.”

Read much more about this new law and what is predicted to be the aftermath in the full articles at both the Web Host Industry Review website and online at the New York Times.

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