Russia Threatens To Block Access To Facebook, Google And Twitter Unless They Obey New Bloggers Law

from the getting-serious dept

Last year, Techdirt wrote about yet another of Russia's new laws aimed at taming the troublesome internet world. Its most striking feature was that bloggers with more than 3,000 visitors a day were required to register on a special list, and to abide by general mass media restrictions. We noted then that blogs located overseas were not covered by the new law. But according to this report in The Guardian, based on a story in Izvestia, it seems that the law is now being applied to foreign service providers too: Facebook, Google and Twitter are all being threatened with fines or even bans for non-compliance:

The [Russian communications agency's] deputy director, Maksim Ksenzov, had issued a warning to the three companies on 6 May, telling them they were in violation of the bloggers law because they had not provided requested data on the number of daily visitors to several users' pages, as well as information allowing the authorities to identify the owners of accounts with more than 3,000 daily visitors.
The companies are threatened with fines, but these are relatively modest: up to 300,000 roubles ($6,000) for the first offense. Subsequent infringements lead to bigger fines or a ban on the website for up to 30 days. As The Guardian points out:
If the companies did not take steps to delete from their sites "information containing calls to participate in mass rioting, extremist activities" or unsanctioned public events, the watchdog would "limit access to the information resource where that information is posted", Ksenzov warned.
The problem is that regional Internet service providers might not be able to provide much granularity when limiting access to these pages, leading to services from the companies concerned being blocked completely in those areas. As the Izvestia article explains, although the Russian authorities are very keen for the US companies to obey Russian law, and point out that they are simply following in the footsteps of the the European Commission, it's not clear how they could force compliance or collect any fines they imposed.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 22 May 2015 @ 12:01pm

    If these companies care about anything other than money they will simply show the middle finger. I won't hold my breath for most of them though...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 12:13pm

    I guess the russian legislature is invoking their right to be forgotten here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dale, 22 May 2015 @ 12:15pm

    I hope they comply - if Russia blocks access to Facebook, the country's productivity could jump so much they could become a serious threat again....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      With the Facebook equivalent VKontakte still being the market leader by a large margin in Russia, blocking Facebook would have a much more limited impact then most other countries. Although I would think Russia would look for any excuse to block Facebook if Vkontakte's leadership status is ever seriously challenged.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 12:18pm

    and the frightening thing is, this is exactly the sort of censorship that is happening in the so-called 'free world' where privacy and freedom is supposed to be respected, be all important! what appears to be important now, especially in countries like the USA, the UK and most of the EU, as well as other members of the 5eyes club, is the complete dissemination of the every things that our societies are built on. privacy, freedom and freedom of speech are being not just eroded but completely eliminated. and it isn't to counter terrorism or child pornography, it's to allow the various governments to be prepared when they do the next bad deed or a politician or industry head goes off the rails and the public want to decry what has happened. even worse is when the general public decide that their governments are way out of line and want to take action over the issue(s). if governments are inside your txt, mail and calls, they can quell a riot before it gets started! in other words, the planet is on the verge of being run by a complete body of dictators who will take control of everything we do and prevent us from doing what they dont like! wait and see. it wont be long. the human rights bill in the UK is being thrown out because Cameron doesn't like it as are other laws. then he has brought in internet censorship, agreed on by party members, now May is trying to bring in even more drastic censorship and the politicians cant understand why. it doesn't take rocket science to know that as soon as something starts, making it more severe is a mere formality!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 1:07pm

    Something I've never quite understood is why the Russian government's heavy-handedness makes constant headline material in the Western press while the Ukrainian government's heavy-handedness almost never gets mentioned -- despite being much worse.

    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2015/04/28/ukraine-censorship-russia-propaganda-hosting/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 1:10pm

      Re:

      Hello, comrade. I hope working conditions for the troll army improve.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 May 2015 @ 3:15pm

      Look, a distraction!

      One is a really massive country, with significant influence, the other... isn't.

      Censorship and propaganda are bad, yes, no matter where they happen, but with only so much space to fill and time to write, the focus will naturally end up on the larger players more often than not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sunhawk, 22 May 2015 @ 4:32pm

      Re: Russia vs. Ukraine

      To be honest, there's probably two major factors:

      * Russia is seen as being the (former?) Evil Empire by many, particularly older people in positions in the media and politics.

      * Most people tend to not honestly care about Ukraine, considering it to have little ability to make an impact beyond the local one.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 11:20pm

        Re: Re: Russia vs. Ukraine

        Russia has a relatively recent history of splitting up. Any country having lost part of their territory will have a patriotic craving for a reunion being pushed by nationalists. In conservative circles that is called revanchism.

        Ukraine is a small country compared to Russia in terms of their economic or military power.

        With those things in mind Russia is the belittled part in history and they have the economic and military power to push for "their right". From those points Russias governments actions will have to be scrutinized more than Ukraines.

        When that is said Russia seems to be moving towards a chinese inspired system with massive restrictions on personal expression and a purely realpolitical discourse.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2015 @ 5:34pm

    might as well eliminate another outlet for info from russia. stupid ass population is more gullible than us in the US. no need to hear from such brain dead putin lovers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 26 May 2015 @ 9:13am

    "unsanctioned public events"

    Is there a limitation to what this means? Because by itself it means going outside without permission from the government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2015 @ 3:29am

    Since the US has admitted it was responsible for placing agent provocateurs into the countries involved in the 'Arab Spring' and the latest FOIA release from the DoD admits to intentionally forming and arming ISIS, Russia know that the US is predominantly responsible for stirring up trouble in other countries in order to drive regime change. It's also why they threw all US-based NGOs out of the country. This is just another (not unexpected) route that they've taken in order to limit the extent to which the US can attempt to stir up trouble.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.