Another Terrible Idea From Russia: Using Whitelists To Control Access To The Internet

from the anything-they-won't-do? dept

Techdirt has been reporting on a steady stream of bad tech ideas coming out of Russia, including content monitoring, banning children from using WiFi, anti-piracy laws requiring takedowns in 24 hours and — of course — site blocking. But such blacklists are too permissive for some Russians: over on Google+, Peter Lemenkov pointed out that one region is now introducing whitelists (original in Russian):

In February the Safe Internet League is starting an experimental access to the “clean Internet” in one of Russia’s regions. Users in the test region will only be able to access pages and sites that have been checked by the League’s experts.

It’s hard to know what’s worst about this approach. Maybe the idea that there is such a thing as a “clean Internet”, or that self-appointed experts have the right to decide what is clean and what isn’t. Or perhaps just the belief that it is possible to create a whitelist that isn’t utterly useless. According to the report above, the League hopes to have a million “resources” available to users at launch; meanwhile, in the real world, Google says it indexes 30 trillion Web pages….

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Comments on “Another Terrible Idea From Russia: Using Whitelists To Control Access To The Internet”

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29 Comments
DannyB (profile) says:

There is another problem with this

There is a problem with this that you didn’t point out.

It is the same underlying problem with Hollywood’s self-defeating approach to taking down links (instead of what the link points to).

Today a site may be approved by the Russia censor masters. Tomorrow that same URL may have unapproved content.

It’s also the problem of Hollywood imposing third party liability for linking. What I linked to today might be legal. Then tomorrow, through no fault of mine, it links to something pirated.

A whitelisted internet. It sounds like an idea Apple would like — but call it “curated”.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Internet is not port 80

This fails in the same way as SiteFinder did: it assumes all the Internet has is “pages and sites”. What about e-mail (which, as Richard Stallman shows us, can be used to access “pages and sites”)? What about ssh (used to manage servers, can be used to proxy almost everything)? What about IRC? Usenet? VoIP? XMPP? Can it whitelist secure sites (using SSL/TLS)? Even when they use a CDN (SSL certificates with hundreds of domain names, no SNI with older browsers, and IP addresses which change all the time depending on several external factors)?

The Internet was designed so that all the functionality is at the endpoints; attempting to force central control over it is doomed to failure.

Artiewhitefox says:

The banning thing is to stupid for words.

Religious people were known for their oppressive laws that weighed people down. The Russian people banning, and white listing as they call it, and banning children are unbeknown to them acting religious people being anti Christ in behavior.Wanting to Ban kids from seeing sex or nudity you had better ban them from the planet banning them from even seeing themselves. All that people did not make is nude. The banning thing is to stupid for words.

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