Russian Anti-Piracy Group Wants To Forbid Discussions Of Blocklist Circumvention Tools

from the copyright-leads-yet-again-to-censorship dept

Just recently, we were writing about the increasingly-desperate assault on Popcorn Time in Norway, where even linking to sites that offer the software is enough for the authorities to seize a domain name. Now the Russian anti-piracy group Association for the Protection of Copyright on the Internet (AZAPO) wants to take its own fight up a notch in an equally vain attempt to stop people finding out how to circumvent blocklists using proxies, VPNs and Tor. As TorrentFreak reports:

In a document penned by AZAPO, approved by [Russian] telecoms watchdog Rozkomnadzor, and seen by, the anti-piracy group says that banning discussion of workarounds will enhance the country’s blocking regime.

“The introduction of [a system of fines] for those who promote methods for bypassing Internet blockades will enhance the effectiveness of blocking prohibited Internet resources,” the group writes.

Fines will range from around $70 for individuals, up to $14,500 for companies. AZAPO’s document is being sent to the Ministry of Communications for discussion in the lower house of Russia’s parliament.

The TorrentFreak post points out that even if the authorities managed to enforce such a law within Russia, there’s not much they could do about companies promoting VPNs outside the country. And the ultimate constraint on any attempt to forbid people from knowing something is the Streisand Effect: the more the Russian government tries to ban discussions of circumvention technologies, the more people will be keen to find out about them.

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Comments on “Russian Anti-Piracy Group Wants To Forbid Discussions Of Blocklist Circumvention Tools”

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ed271 (profile) says:

It amazes me how consistent the Russians are. Not so long ago they had a communist government (or at least they said they did) which did this sort of thing all the time. They overthrow the old government and get a new democratic (theoretically) government, and it turns out to be almost identical to the last government. Even the Czars worked pretty much the same way, although at the time there wasn’t much information to suppress.

On the bright side the Russian people have a long tradition of getting around this sort of restriction.

Median Wilfred says:

Logic of Copyright

Just like mass surveillance has a logic all its own, so does copyright and censorship (and yes, I’m equating the two deliberately). If you start censoring then you have to also control means of circumventing the censorship. Then you have to control discussion of circumvention, and eventually discussion of censorship itself. The progression is automatic, logical, and inescapable. The same is true of copyright, a means of supposedly selective censorship, except that the wheels of copyright grind a lot slower than those of censorship.

Anonymous Coward says:

Russia's BREIN

Since Russia has very little of any sort of domestic music or movie industry of its own, it’s virtually certain that Hollywood is the driving force bankrolling this “trade group” known as AZAPO, hoping to buy off Russian politicians just as thoroughly as Hollywood’s lobbies bought off American politicians.

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