Overseas lawsuits to read you throw, no matter how enraged. Secret lists of forbidden sites are now in Russia!

    I'll start with a short historical introduction.

    A little over three years ago (March 19, 2009) I was extremely annoyed at the news from Australia about Slashdot (and then selectively translated by lqp blogger) about how wild and inappropriate the Australian Communications Ministry (ACMA) came into effect A list of sites that Australian providers should block access to. Then I posted this news on Habrahabr . Its gloomy details were insanity, a nightmare, the lawlessness of surreal, anti-utopian totalitarianism:

    • It was forbidden not only to show sites included in the blacklist of the Ministry of Communications, but also to put hyperlinks on them (from forums, for example). And besides, from the Australian forum Whirlpool demanded a fine (eleven thousand dollars a day!) For one such hyperlink.
    • The content of the blacklist itself was declared an Australian state secret, for the disclosure of which is subject to criminal punishment. So, about which sites you can’t put hyperlinks, good people (owners of the Internet forum, for example) were forced to find out already after a lawsuit was filed against them and the prosecution machine started working.
    • Taking advantage of the fact that it is forbidden to know the contents of the black list (and therefore to discuss), the authorities replenished it with the most diverse (far from indisputable) contents. For example, they placed there a site about a similar list in Denmark (that is, Australians were forbidden to know how and what the Danes were forbidden), and a wiki site for draining political dirt (wikileaks.org), and a site for opponents of abortion (with photos gutted embryos), and so on.

    I added then: “The only bright moment in this story is that it takes place in Australia, far from us. Rejoice in it while you can. ”

    Alas, today it becomes clear that those words of mine were prophetic. Know, ladies and gentlemen, that  Russia is on the verge of introducing the very same form of censorship!

    It is easy to read in Vedomosti and then on the Ridus website that the joint working group (consisting of Russian parliamentarians, representatives of the Ministry of Communications and the Internet community) decided to make the Russian register of banned web pages hidden from the public ,so that, they say, not to advertise such sites. (“This will be a catalog of filthy content,” said Igor Ashmanov, managing partner of Ashmanov and Partners.)

    Alexei Volin (deputy minister of communications and mass communications) said that a closed registry would not create any pressure on site administrations, because the law says that if a page of a site is entered into the registry, the site administration is notified immediately.

    Well, what will happen if the site administration does not give a damn about such a notification? (Which is not at all surprising if we recall for a moment the demands to close LiveJournal or to  split the YouTube domain .) What then will the authorities intend to do with those citizens who are ignorantlyput a hyperlink to a site that has been blacklisted in impenetrable secrecy? Or with those citizens who click like ?

    It seems as easy to guess as to add two and two.

    I will add the recent observation stated by the aforementioned lqp blogger : the intentions of the Ministry of Communications are contrary to the Constitution, article 15 of which states that “any regulatory legal acts affecting the rights, freedoms and duties of a person and a citizen cannot be applied if they are not published officially for the public.”

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