Russia Blocks The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine Over A Single Page
from the keep-history-buried dept
Over the last few years, Russia has really been ramping up its efforts to censor the internet to hide content it doesn’t like. As is often the case when the government gets the power to censor, that censorship starts spreading farther and farther.
The latest? Apparently in the effort to hide a single archive of a site that the Russian government doesn’t like, the entire “Wayback Machine” from the Internet Archive has been blocked:
The Russian government has blocked the Internet Archive, the San-Francisco-based website that provides the popular Wayback Machine, which allows users to view archived webpages. The decision to ban the Internet Archive appears to be the work of Russia’s Attorney General, meaning that police determined that the website contains extremist content.
Rublacklist.net says police targeted the Internet Archive because of a saved webpage called ?Solitary Jihad in Russia,? a short text that claims to offer information about the ?theory and practice of partisan resistance.? At one point, the text states that Islamic sharia law ?must be instituted all across the world.?
According to the website Rublacklist.net (a censorship-monitoring project operated by the Russian Pirate Party), the page in question* on the Internet Archive was added to Russia’s official registry of banned websites on June 23, 2015. Because the Internet Archive uses https, some Russian ISPs will have to block the entire website in order to comply with the blacklisting, since encrypted traffic won’t allow them to differentiate between different pages of the same site. According to TJournal, users of mobile Internet provider Yota were unable to access the page, the Wayback Machine, or the Internet Archive on June 25.
As you hopefully already know, the Wayback Machine is a tremendously useful tool for looking up archived versions of websites. It is a kind of library of our internet history. Of course, as the article at Global Voices notes, part of the reason the entire site is getting blocked is due to the use of HTTPS. While some might argue that this is a reason why sites shouldn’t go to default HTTPS, I’d argued the opposite: it shows the value in HTTPS in that it makes censorship much more difficult such that when it occurs, the results are so ridiculous that it hopefully leads to greater pushback on the ridiculous attempts to censor.