Blacklist law takes effect in Russia
MOSCOWA new law in Russia aiming to protect children from harmful Internet content by allowing the government to remove certain websites took effect Nov. 1.
The law was approved by both houses of Parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin in July. The controversial mandate gives officials the right to force websites offline and demand that Internet service providers block content deemed offensive.
The Russian government says the law is aimed at protecting children from pornography and web content that encourages drug use or suicide, but activists say the new law may be used to block websites critical of the government and increase censorship.
“Of course there are websites that should not be accessible to children, but I don’t think it will be limited to that,” Yuri Vdovin, vice president of Citizens’ Watch, a human rights organization based in St. Petersburg, told the BBC. The Russian search engine Yandex and networking site Mail.ru have opposed the law, saying it will lead to widespread Internet censorship.