Background: Roskomsvoboda and its history

    No, this is not a rock band, this is the “Roskomsvoboda” team.

    On the pages of Habr, articles and news mentioning “Roskomsvoboda” have been published more than once or twice. Moreover, one of the representatives of this organization Sarkis Darbinyan regularly publishes on Habré. But what exactly is Roskomsvoboda when it was created and what is it striving for? About this next post "Help."

    When, how and why was Roskomsvoboda created?

    It was launched as a public project on November 1, 2012. It was on this day that the Unified Register of Banned Sites entered into force (“black list of sites”). The name was chosen as a kind of opposition to Roskomnadzor (the first post of “Reference” was devoted to the department ).

    The initial idea was to organize the ongoing monitoring of legislative activities of state bodies in the sphere of Internet regulation. Almost immediately after the foundation of the organization, it began to monitor the blocking of various resources.

    Now "Roskomsvoboda" conducts public campaigns and supports many civil initiatives for freedom of information and inviolability of personal data of users. The main activity is the protection of the rights of users and owners of unreasonably blocked sites in court.

    The organization was able to launch legal support for both ordinary users of the network and site owners who believe that their digital rights are violated. A specialized digital rights center has been opened, and if necessary, lawyers are provided in a number of cases who deal with, for example, blocking issues.

    What is digital rights?

    In general, these are human rights, which consist in free access to the use, creation and publication of digital works, Internet access, the right to encryption and anonymity.

    This is a fairly fresh concept, and Roscomsvoboda contributed to its emergence.

    The system "State -" Roskomsvoboda ". There is a problem?

    According to the head of the Roskomsvoboda project, the negative attitude of the state is not felt. Employees of the organization are not intimidated, no one tries to restrict Roskomsvobud itself in actions or close them altogether.

    Moreover, the opinion of representatives of “Roskomsvoboda” has a fairly large weight among officials at various levels. They are subscribed to the channels of the organization, as well as track news, analytics, opinions of representatives. It can be said that those in power perceive Roscomsvobdu as testing system bugs.

    The authorities, paying attention to the information campaigns of the organization, in some cases correct their own mistakes. As an example, it is possible to enter the registry of prohibited IP into the registry. After Roskomsvoboda raised the question of the legality of such actions, officials quickly resolved the issue by removing localhost from the list. Similarly, officials reacted after blocking the supplier of SSL certificates Roskomnadzor .

    The organization tries not to clash from scratch. Usually, all affairs, including media campaigns, are conducted using powerful arguments. The point of view of Roskomsvoboda representatives is always supported by a certain pool of facts. Perhaps that is why members of the organization’s team were invited to the Duma, the Federation Council, the White House at different times, they also meet with representatives of the Ministry of Communications and Roskomnadzor.

    How many employees are there in the organization, what are they doing?

    Only about 12 permanent employees who work almost every day. About the same number of volunteers who sporadically join the work. Basically, these are graduates of universities, representatives of various specialties: lawyers, IT specialists, journalists, etc. The core of the framework was formed in 2012, it has not changed yet. On the contrary, the state is expanded to cover a wider range of issues of digital law.

    In "Roskomsvoboda" there is a division by activity. So, there is a technical department, legal, there is an editorial board that prepares resources for publication in various publications or on their own.

    Over time, volunteer assistants become more, so the organization is now engaged not only in the protection of digital rights in the Russian Federation, but also abroad, including countries in Asia, Europe, and the USA. Abroad, too, there are problems with digital rights issues, although these problems are not as extensive as in Russia. Now in the Russian Federation there are already 10 departments that can block websites without trial. But they are blocked and in court.

    Where does the money for the maintenance of the organization?

    There are several sources of funds, including crowdfunding. The Roskomsvoboda website has published wallets to which funds can be sent (POISON, cryptocurrency, etc.). Two years ago, the organization received presidential grants. But then this source of funding, in fact, closed - Roskomsvoboda is denied state grants, and the reasons are not mentioned.

    There is another source of funding. Roskomsvoboda has compiled a list of verified VPN services that have been audited by qualified experts. These VPN services are paid. When paying for their services, a certain percentage of the funds received go to Roskomvoboda. The organization perceives this money as part of the funding provided by the public.

    Lawyers and attorneys who work inThe Center for Digital Rights , organized by Roskomsvoboda, does business both on a voluntary basis and for money. All applications from ordinary people or business representatives are considered. If the case is socially significant, then the lawyers of Roskomsvoboda will conduct it for free. The range of “public services” includes informational, legal support, and organization of legal proceedings.

    With regard to commercial activities, the staff of the organization provides information and legal support to the business. In particular, the company's compliance with the provisions of the “Internet legislation” is checked. It is about the storage of personal data, their use, and other issues. The work is conducted not only with Russian, but also with international legislation.

    What are the loudest Roscomsvoboda cases?

    One of the most notorious victories is the case of blocking the bitcoin portal The organization’s lawyers succeeded in getting the Supreme Court to clarify that the site owner is an interested person in the site blocking process. Previously, for some reason, by default it was believed that the interests of the site owner are not violated when the site is blocked. The Supreme Court allowed that the rights of the site owners are affected, and they must be attracted. Earlier, the owner of the Internet resource, which it was decided to blacklist, was not even involved in the general process.

    Another thing is the case of Dmitry Bogatov. He was led at once by several lawyers of Roskomsvoboda, including Sarkis Darbinyan, was one of the lawyers. First the detention center, then house arrest. He was threatened with harsh terms, he walked through heavy articles and could sit for 20 years. If it were not for public support, then Bogatov would rather be in prison. Not for 20 years, most likely, but for 10, but still, this is a very harsh sentence.

    Bogatov was arrested in April 2017 for two months in the case of appeals for a protest rally. He was accused of posting calls for extremist actions on social networks. Dmitry claims that he did not. The fact is that he is a supporter of free software distribution and was the administrator of the output node of the Tor network. Apparently, the people who left messages on the social network used Thor, and Dmitry was not lucky that among the ip-addresses from which the messages were sent, was the address of his output node.

    Posts, allegedly published by Dmitry, were placed at a time when he himself was in the gym and went shopping. Publications from the same IP continued even while Dmitry was already in custody.

    After a long trial, more similar to the plot of a Hollywood film ( history can be viewed here ), Bogatov’s status changed from accused to witness. Further investigation will go its own way without the participation of Bogatov.

    Among the difficulties can be called the fact that to file an appeal you need to go to the region where the decision was made. For example, if the resource is blocked in Anadyr, then you need to go to Anadyr. Moreover, even if the previous decision was successfully contested, in another region another court can easily block a resource already unblocked in court. The decision of the regional court for some reason is federal.

    How can I contact Roskomsvoboda if they block my website or get me involved?

    Now, the specialized “Center of digital rights” Roskomvoboda is protecting the digital rights of individuals or entrepreneurs . If there is any problem, then you should contact here. Experts will help to get advice (the button is located on the main page) and will sort out the problem.

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