A controversial new Russian law went into effect today that bans or blacklists any website the government sees as objectionable. The Russian Telecommunications, Information Technology and Mass Communications agency will be managing the censorship.
This new SOPA-like law that went into effect on November 21, 2012 gives the Russian government the power to immediately shut down, block or blacklist any site in the country that the government deems objectionable or illegal. Passed in July 2012, the law was fought hard by many Internet anti-censorship groups that included the popular Russian search engine Yandex.com and the Russian version of Wikipedia, which went black for 24 hours.
According to Russian lawmakers the new law was made in an effort to protect young children from seeing material that would be objectionable, such as child abuse or drug abuse. The law allows for websites inside the country to be shut down entirely, while sites outside of the government’s reach would simply be blacklisted, which is essentially an outright blockage of that IP into the country through the Russian Internet service provider.
This latest passage in Russia has many worried that other super powers may follow suit with Russia. Currently many nations have some form of censorship such as China and many Middle Eastern nations. Google Incorporated is asking its users to help them fight the United Nations attempt at deciding whether the Internet should be regulated. In reply to the UN meeting, Google has up a special web page with a tagline that reads, “A free and open world depends on a free and open web”. Google says their efforts are to prevent the upcoming vote by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on the future of the Internet. Part of the ITU’s goal would be on how the Internet is viewed, if it needs to be regulated and if the United States should remain the chief overseer of the Internet.