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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(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 7th, 2013 @ 5:52am

    Are the Russian protesting? If not they should.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

      Re:

      Why bother. Just take another bottle of vodka and pass out...

       

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      Jake, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 3:32pm

      Re:

      Is anyone likely to listen? The current leadership over there is even less receptive to public dissent than the English speaking world and has a much lower threshold of inconvenience beyond which they'll send the heavy mob in to break heads.

       

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    Jessie (profile), Feb 7th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    Sorry

    I'm sorry mister political opponent, it appears you had pictures of women with dresses above their knees so we had to block your site for obscenity. Don't worry, you can appeal, but we've got a horrible backlog, it looks like it won't come up for review until a week after the elections.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Those not in gulags could still access around .0000000033% of the internet. Yay.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    So no pr0n then?

     

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    Michael, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    Safe Internet League

    "Safe Internet League"

    Can we add them to the 20,000 that are under the sea?

     

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    DannyB (profile), Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    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".

     

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    Pixelation, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    In Russia, Internet Saves You!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:19am

    Did they not learn that this is a bad idea from when they were the USSR.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:22am

    Do they automatically white list Russian sites?

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    Why do I get the strangest feeling that any 'unofficial' news sites(or, lets be honest, any non-government run news) will be among the many categories of sites that will be considered 'unacceptable' in such a system?

     

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    Passing-by, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    Well, what could you expect from Party senior executives that are longing for their youth. In their minds a real computer takes the size of a football field, the phone connections are made by operators with TRS jacks, and the Vodka is the greatest human invention ever... Sigh!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    a question for you all.

    which country was the first to try to gain complete control over the internet? i bet it take long to answer that one!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    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.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Feb 7th, 2013 @ 9:24am

      Re: The Internet is not port 80

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


      This is why the rise of walled gardens such (but not only) Facebook are corrosive to the internet itself. It undermines the internet's true strength.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 9:09am

    Putin is nothing short of being a megalomaniac! why the hell he was voted back in is beyond me. having said that, look what has just been done in the good ol' US of A!

     

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    Kevin, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 9:09am

    Currently, Wikipedia claims to have 29,389,796 pages. Do they plan on having 3.4% of Wikipedia on there, or is this destined to turn in to some sort of oddly curated Encyclopædia Britannica for Russia?

    Oh, but then they'd have to allow user edits, and I don't see that ending well for the whitelist.

     

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    Lord Binky, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    This is the same thing as the child-safe features that try to make the kiddy pool of the internet ocean. I think companies effectively do the same thing with Web-Sense, which has it's failures too....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    Wasn't Russia one of the countries that signed off on the UN/ITU making new rules for the Internet?

    I have a sense of foreboding here...

     

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    quawonk, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Watch Starship Troopers, and look at the "Federal Network" scenes for a glimpse into the future of the Internet. Give it 10 years.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Feb 7th, 2013 @ 3:54pm

      Re:

      That's a post-internet future (aka the new dark ages). You may be right about the 10 year timeframe.

      On the plus side, there will still be an internet. It will just be underground. There are a number of such networks in existence right now.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    In Soviet Russia websites own you.

     

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    Artiewhitefox, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    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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