Russia Blocks All Of Shutterstock Due To 'Offensive' Image Involving The Russian Flag

from the shutter-to-think dept

We've talked quite a bit over the years about Rozcomnadzor, the Russian agency in charge of policing the internet for copyright infringing content... and really anything else that the Russian government decides it doesn't like. The agency operates exactly as deftly as you would expect, routinely blocking entire sites that are in regular use in Russia over a tiny percentage of "illicit" use. The problem, of course, is that Rozcomnadzor often interprets "illicit" uses of the internet to mean embarrassing public Russian figures with ties to the government, criticizing the government itself, or using basic internet security tools such as VPN to keep the Russian government out of one's internet use. This makes it all the more infuriating that American groups such as the MPAA have happily signed on with the Russian agency in an effort to protect copyright content, despite the agency's more widespread aims.

It keeps happening. Recently, stock photo site Shutterstock -- all of it -- suddenly appeared on the Russia banned sites list. You might be assuming that this is a copyright issue, but it isn't.

However, those who visit the URL detailed at the top of the notice will find what appears to be an image of a Russian flag placed in the middle of a pile of excrement. Russian authorities do not take kindly to their national symbols depicted in such a fashion and have laws in place to prevent it.

As a result, Russian ISPs are now blocking two Shutterstock-related IP addresses (one in Germany, one in the Netherlands) which are both operated by cloud company Akamai. Whether other sites using the same IP addresses are also being affected is currently unclear.

For good measure, Russia is also targeting the image.shutterstock.com domain. As highlighted by Russian digital rights group Roskomsvoboda, which first reported the news, this is particularly problematic since rather than tackling just a single URL, a whole HTTPS subdomain is in the register.

As a recap, because the Russian government is upset over someone putting an image online of the Russian flag in less than flattering circumstances, Shutterstock's domain is blocked nationwide. This is about where I'd like to ping the MPAA and ask again about its support of Rozcomnadzor. After all, the MPAA signed on with the Russian agency over a concern on copyright protection, ostensibly so that creative types could sell their wares to legitimate buyers. With this overreaction of a site-wide block of Shutterstock, a whole bunch of stock photo artists have suddenly lost their ability to sell their creative works.

One also wonders just how long this can go on without a massive reaction by the internet-using Russian public. After all, with these massive overblocks, eventually the Russian government will run out of internet to deprive of its citizens.

Filed Under: censorship, rozcomnadzor, russia, russian flag, site blocking
Companies: shutterstock


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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 6:23pm

    'Amateurs...'

    Of course the real irony is that by showing themselves to be so incredibly thin-skinned and quick to silence anyone who might say something they might object to they have demonstrated more disrespect and caused more damage than any number of images like that could have dreamed of.

    Whoever the artist was may have presented the flag in a pile of crap, but it's government agencies like them utterly losing their minds that show that if anything the image was understating the state of the government/country.

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

  2. icon
    mvario (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 8:05pm

    Not imgur yet

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

  3. icon
    Norahc (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 10:04pm

    Too bad they're not as effective att blocking Russian troll farms or malware sites.

    It's almost as if they support them
    ...
    Oh crap!

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2019 @ 10:06pm

    So serious...

    “Offensive image involving the Russian flag”

    Ya make a joke about the flag falling faster then the ruble and everyone hunts ya down...

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

  5. identicon
    American Flag Waver, 9 Dec 2019 @ 10:22pm

    Stupid russkis making such a fuss over their flag, just look at that law of theirs

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/4/8

    Oh, wait.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2019 @ 11:09pm

    Well they could have removed the image.

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

  7. identicon
    Rocky, 9 Dec 2019 @ 11:51pm

    Re:

    Why?

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 12:12am

    Re: Re:

    Because somebody somewhere on the internet had a case of butthurt?

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 2:10am

    Thanks Roscensor

    No we know how to get any domain which accepts user generated content taken down in Russia. We post said picture of flag in shit.

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

  10. identicon
    Rocky, 10 Dec 2019 @ 3:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In that case we might as well close down the internet..

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 5:04am

    Russia has the same freedom of speech the US has...

    In America, you can stand in a public square and start insulting President Trump. That's freedom of speech.

    Russia has exactly the same freedom of speech the US has. You can stand in public squares insulting President Trump all you want.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly

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

  13. icon
    JoeCool (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yep. Governments and major corporations long for the era before the internet when they had (near) absolute control over what people saw/heard/read. The artificial scarcity meant they could shovel money straight into their pockets, and the control meant it was much easier to cover up certain things while forcing their agenda on everyone.

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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 6:52am

    Not just Russia...

    This image has also received numerous complaints from the manure industry!

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yup, the good old days when a politician could say one thing in one town and the complete opposite in the next town and hardly anyone noticed.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 7:42am

    Too sexy for my shirt

    "the Russian government is upset over someone putting an image online of the Russian flag in less than flattering circumstances"

    But the image of Putin riding bareback without a shirt is A-Ok.

    • Too Sexy For My Shirt

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

  17. icon
    crade (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 8:19am

    Re: Russia has the same freedom of speech the US has...

    Pelosi maybe.. Trump would be protected.

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

  18. identicon
    Vic, 10 Dec 2019 @ 8:30am

    How normal! As one Russian saying goes "(shooting) sparrows using the cannon"...

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 10:28am

    I’ll give it a shot

    13000 people used to live here now it’s a ghost town.
    “Holds up Russian flag”

    🇷🇺 :”rage beyond human recognition “

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

  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    trendbuzz (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 10:24pm

    Cheapest 5G smartphone

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


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