Internet controls growing stronger in Russia
More information is surfacing in Russia regarding the extent to which the government has been able to control the Internet within the country.
The ways the Internet can be controlled are varied and multi-layered. For instance, China uses what has come to be known as the "Great Firewall of China," where the government censors what content is posted and prohibits users from accessing numerous sites. This method, compared to the United States where citizens have been effectively spied upon, indicates that limitations of freedom throughout cyberspace can manifest themselves in a variety of ways.
In Russia, these kinds of limitations are taking on a variety of forms. The country has been making headlines as of late for suppressing free speech in a number of ways with the recent actions that include the jailing of the punk rock band Pussy Riot and recent laws that would prohibit the LGBT community from voicing its concerns about the various issues they face.
Internet traffic monitoring
Now, according to Global Voices Online, a freedom of speech advocacy group, the government recently issued a decree that is set to take effect next year. It will require internet service providers to monitor all of the traffic that occurs on their servers. This means IP addresses, phone numbers and users names will all be monitored and also stored for 12 hours.
Such policies seem rather similar to that of the U.S. PRISM program. Ironically enough, Russia granted the whistle blower of the NSA's surveillance policy, Edward Snowden, asylum from the U.S.
The news source noted that many bloggers feel that this will make it even easier for the government to target dissenters.
Rapsi News reported that a study published by a communication watchdog in the state has found that the vast majority of websites in the country have been blocked unlawfully. The news source noted that over 83,000 sites have been subject to this activity, making up 98 percent of the total on the country's blacklist.
This collection of sites was created in November of last year. Most of content that has been blocked has been done so for allegedly providing instructions on how to make drugs, child pornography or giving information about how to commit suicide.
However, given the track record of the country, it would not be unreasonable to believe that some of this censorship has not been entirely truthful. With these practices growing more frequent, one has to wonder what the true intention of these programs are.