Russia's Latest Idea: An Internet Whitelist For Copyright Materials

from the that'll-work dept

Now that Sarkozy has been thrown out of office, France is no longer producing the steady stream of bad proposals for the Internet that it once generated. That has left an opening for some other country to take its place, and it seems that Russia is keen to pick up where Sarkozy left off. We've been reporting on previous worrying developments there, and TorrentFreak has news on another one:

According to information obtained by Vedomosti, publishers of music, books and software have put forward amendments [to Russia's existing anti-piracy law] which will place a huge burden of responsibility not just on regular websites but also on search engines such as Google and local outfit Yandex.

The proposed amendments center around the creation of a national registry listing all music, software and books. This database will then be made available to search engines and site owners who will be required to consult it before servicing their users with links or content.
The idea is to create a huge whitelist of approved sites holding copyright materials, and Web sites and search engines will be obliged to use it when linking to works requested by users. As we reported back in February, one region was planning to try that approach in order to produce a "clean Internet." That's clearly impossible, and so is the latest proposal -- both in terms putting together a complete whitelist, and trying to refer to it. As Yandex is quoted as saying in the TorrentFreak piece, the idea could have a wider chilling effect on real-time discussions online:
"[If the amendments go through], rightsholders will switch the entire Internet into pre-moderation mode, because sites can not accommodate any comment without full verification of all the materials located on the link in this comment. For the bulk of services, this task is impossible," Yandex concludes.
And it's not hard to see where this approach leads: replacing today's blacklists of sites that are blocked -- child pornography being the most obvious category -- to one of whitelists, which show the approved sites that aren't blocked. That's truly frightening, and not just for Russian users. As we've seen time and again, governments around the world have the awful habit of copying each other's ideas when it comes to regulating the Internet -- but usually only the bad ones. If this approach is brought in, it can only be a matter of time before people start calling for the same in other countries, citing Russia as an example of where it has already been implemented.

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Filed Under: censorship, copyright, filter, internet freedom, open internet, russia, whitelist


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Sep 2013 @ 12:48am

    Re: Same thing happens with "Safe Browsing" in current Firefox.

    Still struggling with the difference between voluntary action, based on services you don't have to use, and government mandated actions, huh?

    "Only tiny point you have is the blacklist / whitelist but it's literally not a logical distinction: whitelist is actually more practical because fewer to check."

    Nobody questions that. But that's not the problem being discussed. The problem is clearly outlined in the article.

    Is it possible for you to regain the ability to comprehend words? I'm sure that at some point in the past your strawmen actually had some relationship to the article, no matter how tangential.

    "Google pays to be whitelisted in the Noscript extension"

    Citation needed. No, "they whitelisted YouTube" is not proof of any money.

    Either way you have a number of choices - stop using NoScript. Use a competitor. Or use the facility to remove Google from their whitelist. Or get together with a group of fellow paranoid schizophrenics and use the open source code to create your own Google-free competitor.

    Stop whining on a forum about conspiracy theories that don't exist on stories that have to do with government action with no parallels to anything Google can do.

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