Not Long After Passing Censorship Legislation, Russian Government Censors All of LiveJournal
from the in-soviet-russia,-speech-censors-you dept
Not too long ago, despite the protests of several sites, Russia passed its own little version of SOPA. It did so for the typical “for the children” reasoning. Even though this new censorship power is only a couple of weeks old, the Russia government wasted no time in taking advantage of it. In what could only conceivably be an act of celebration, perhaps after a vodka binge, the government decided to block all of LiveJournal.
It began by blocking the entirety of LiveJournal, the country’s largest blogging community, to the city of Yaroslavl and part of surrounding Moscow from July 18 to 20.
Wait. All of LiveJournal? Why? What could possibly go through the minds of these government officials that would cause them to block an entire network of blogs, most of which were not doing anything illegal?
On July 18, local law enforcement informed a Yaroslavl court about pat-index, a neo-Nazi blog it had found on LiveJournal during a sweep. The blog’s hateful message violates Russian federal laws against extremism. Because of Bill 89417-6, the court now has the power to stamp it out completely and immediately.
The court ordered Internet provider Netis Telekom to block, among other illegal sites, this blog’s IP. The court order shows the IP to be blocked as 220.127.116.11.
You see, the court order demanded the blockage based on the IP of the blog in question. What could possibly go wrong with such a simple open and shut use of such an easy to use identification source? Oh, right. All of LiveJournal uses the same IP address. So when the government officials got their court order to block those few illegal blogs, they took out just a few extra. Kind of reminds me of when Homeland Security, here in the US, took out over 84,000 websites in a similar action.
This reminds me of the debates around SOPA. You know, when we and other people, who actually understand the dangers of the legislation, warned repeatedly that such legislation would result in collateral damage of this nature. This collateral damage is also part of the reason why this Russian bill was protested. Legitimate speech was censored for several days. That is not acceptable. It should be a wake up call to the legislators that passed the bill. Unfortunately, too many people in power are unwilling to relinquish the ability to censor speech once they have it. Hopefully, the citizens of Russia will take note of this unacceptable abuse of power and demand the law be repealed.