Russia censores online encyclopedia
Russian internet encyclopedia lurkmore.ru was blacklisted for allegedly containing content promoting drugs, pedophilia and suicide, website bosses announced on November 12, 2012.
“This is without a doubt censorship,” Dmitry Homak, the website’s founder, told Russian daily Kommersant. “You cannot access drugs though our site or find out where to buy them. The law states that we should be notified that we are being drawn onto the black list before our page is blocked, but we received no such notice.”
The bill “On protection of children from information harmful to their health and development” was voted in by the Russian parliament, the Duma, in July 2012. The bill allowed the government to create a black list of internet sites that sell drugs, promote drug use, contain child pornography and propagate suicide.
The bill states that before sites are blacklisted, the provider should be contacted and ordered to remove the explicit content. If the content in question is removed, the site can continue to function.
The bill was heavily criticized by civil rights organizations, major internet companies such as Mail.ru Group, Yandex and Google, as well as the Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights. Critics warned that the bill could be used to censor the internet.
On November 5, 2012 the Russian Ministry of Economy filed a draft proposal for a “Safe internet” bill. The bill is aimed at combating the spread of illegal web content, countering cyber attacks and torrent downloads (an engine used to download music and movies). The project aims to create a system for filtering contents and blocking the illegal sharing of data.
According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), Russia is a leader in illegal torrent downloads, ranking fourth on a IIPA’s global list for the amount of illegal content downloaded. IIPA records show that Russian users downloaded approximately 31 mln illegal copies of blockbuster movies in 2011.
In a recent report, the alliance recommended that the Russian Federal Anti-monopoly Agency expands to control illegal downloads.