Russian Internet Censorship Diminishes the Entire Internet | ReadWriteWeb

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Russia’s new Web blacklist is only the most recent of an alarming series of authoritarian moves to muzzle networked communications. National governments bent on censorship are eating away at the global, public Internet.

On Wednesday, the Russian Parliament’s lower house approved legislation that would block Web pages selectively. The proposed law reportedly lets officials filter out specific domain names and IP addresses. Law enforcement agencies could add URLs to the blacklist without a court order. Hosting services would need to remove banned materials within 72 hours or risk being shut down.

Ostensibly, the law would protect children from pornography, drug abuse, suicide and information “harmful to their health and development.” However, it’s difficult to take this rationale at face value: Russia’s government routinely crushes challenges to the status quo. The Putin regime has taken tight control over broadcast media and dragged its heels in investigating the murders of 26 journalists. It has fought U.N. resolutions that would compel it to respect human rights. Another bill currently in the Russian Parliament would increase penalties for defamation, while yet another would compel nongovernmental organizations that accept foreign financing to register as “foreign agents.”

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