Circling the Lion's Den

Internet-filtering. October 2012

ņŪšūŚť 08.11.2012 00:00:00

A Chronicle of Russian Internet Filtering /†October 2012

Religion

In October of 2012, many Regional Prosecutor’s Offices continued to issue warnings to Internet providers for not blocking access to “The Innocence of Muslims,” despite the fact that the October 1 decision by the Tver District Court of Moscow to recognize the video as extremist did not come into effect until October 17.
— On October 1, warnings were issued by the Prosecutorís Offices of the Astrakhan, Kaluga, Kostroma, and Tomsk and Krasnodar regions.
ó On October 2, warnings were issued by the Office of Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Mordovia.
ó On October 4, warnings were issued by the Prosecutorís Office of the Jewish Autonomous Region.
ó On October 5, warnings were issued by the Prosecutorís Office of the Samara Region.
ó On October 8, the Prosecutorís Office of Bashkiria made a corresponding motion and on ó On October 9, the Prosecutorís Office of Sterlitamak (Bashkortostan) and the City Prosecutorís Office of Tula issued warning to providers regarding the video.

ó On October 12, 2012, the Astrakhan Regional Prosecutorís Office filed five claims with Astrakhan district courts requesting that providers restrict access to the 45 addresses through which ďThe Innocence of MuslimsĒ was available.† The Tver Court of Moscow had declared this film to be extremist, but the court decision was still not in effect at that time.†

ó On October 16, the Prosecutor's Office of the Ivanovo Region issued warnings to the Internet provider companies Svyaz-Contract and AiDiSi.
ó On October 17, the decision by the Tver Court of Moscow to recognize the Innocence of Muslims video as extremist came into effect.

ó The same day, the Prosecutor's Office in Chelyabinsk issued warnings to 15 regionís Internet providers for failing to block the video.
óA District Prosecutor's Office in Stavropol Region Issues Orders to Block Several Web Sites

On October 1, 2012, it was reported that the Prosecutorís Office of the Ipatovsk district in the Stavropol Region found a violation in the course of its audit.† Public access was being provided to the site, containing the text of Abu Hamid al-Ghazaliís Council for Kings, a medieval theological treatise included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials.† The same audit revealed that several Web sites contained information for obtaining a fake driver's license without training or examinations.
The Prosecutor's Office filed four court claims against Internet provider Rostelecom, demanding it limit access to these sites.

óIn the Ivanovo Region, Upon Request from Federal Security Service Directorate, the Prosecutor Demands Restrictions on Access to Jehovah's Witness Web sites

On October 1, 2012, it was reported that the Prosecutorís Office of the Soviet District in the Ivanovo Region had conducted an audit, upon request from Federal Security Service Directorate, and identified two publicly accessible Jehovah's Witnesses Web sites.† These Web sites contained electronic editions of publications previously declared to be extremist by a court decision. The Prosecutor's Office issued warnings to the Internet provider Interkomtel regarding the violation of anti-extremist legislation.† It has requested that access to these materials be restricted.

Extremism

óThe Vladivostok Prosecutor's Office Ordered Internet Providers to Block Access to a Leaflet Not Yet Declared Extremist

On October 11, 2012, it was reported that during an inspection the Vladivostok Prosecutor's Office found a publicly accessible online leaflet with content that was "hostile, aggressive and humiliating toward the Jews."† The Prosecutorís Office filed a claim with the Lenin District Court in order to block access to the Web site which posted the leaflet, but the motion was denied. The board on civil cases of the Primorye Regional Court overturned this decision, finding that the Prosecutorís request was an extremism-preventing measure. An appellate court ordered major regional Internet providers to restrict access to said material.

Note that the leaflet in question has never been legally declared extremist.

óThe Prosecutor's Office in the Irkutsk Region Ordered Internet Providers to Block Access to Extremist Web Sites

On October 11, 2012, it was reported that the City Prosecutors Office of Shelekhov in the Irkutsk Region has conducted an audit of compliance with anti-extremist legislation. During the inspection they found the Web site of a banned organization within access to the public.† This Web site contained texts included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials which were aimed at inciting national and religious hatred, and contained justifications of terrorism. As a result of the audit, ten regional Internet providers received warnings with orders to cease the violation.† Upon the prosecutorís orders, access to the extremist Web site has been blocked.

óA District Prosecutor's Office in Ufa Issues Requests to Limit Student Access to Extremist Materials

October 15, 2012, it was reported that the Prosecutorís Office of Ufaís Demski District filed court claims against several educational institutions, where, as established in the course of inspection, students were able to get online access to extremist materials. The Prosecutorís Office demanded that the management of these institutions install software that restricts access to these materials.

óWeb Sites in the Stavropol Region Are Blocked for Publishing The Russian World Order

On October 16, 2012, a report was released regarding the April 24, 2012 decision of the Petrovsky District Court of the Stavropol Region to grant the request of the Petrovsky District Prosecutorís Office to order the Internet provider Adopt Plus to restrict access to Web sites containing the electronic version of Yuri Petukhovís The Russian World Order.† This book is included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials.

On the same day, we found out about the May 4, 2012 decision of the Arzgir District Court of the Stavropol Region to recognize a Web site as extremist for posting information on manufacturing explosives.† Dissemination of such information is now prohibited.

óAn Internet Service Provider in the Belgorod Region Received a Court Order to Restrict Access to Extremist Materials

On October 17, 2012, it was announced that Shebekino Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office of the Belgorod Region filed a lawsuit against the Internet provider Rostelecom, demanding that it restrict access to 14 sites that have posted materials included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials.† The court granted the claim of the Prosecutor's Office and ordered the service provider to install filtering software.

óAccess to a Number of Web Sites Restricted in the Tver Region

On October 17, 2012, it was reported that the Shakhovsky District Prosecutorís Office of the Tver Region found in the course of inspection that a publicly accessible Web site contained Chernaya Gvardiia Gitlera [Hitlerís Black Guard], a book listed on the Federal List of Extremist Materials.

In addition, some sites were providing links to online casinos, where users could take part in gambling, including the use of bank cards.

Based on the results of the audit, the Prosecutor's Office filed two claims requesting that access to the offending Web sites be restricted. Providers were asked to install DNS-level filtering of domain names.† Due to the voluntary compliance by the Internet provider Technologii Domovykh Setei [Home Network Technologies], the hearing of the claim was terminated.

óAs a Result of the Prosecutorís Claim, a Perm Internet Provider Blocked Access to Mein Kampf

On October 18, 2012, it became known that the Leninsky District Prosecutorís Office in the city of Perm filed a claim against a local provider, requesting to restrict access to Web sites, posting the text of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. The Leninsky District Court of Perm granted the request of the Prosecutor's Office. The provider has blocked access to the text, recognized as extremist.

Other Internet service providers operating in the city put no restrictions on access to Mein Kampf

óProsecutors in the Saratov Region Require Internet Providers to Block 20 Web Sites

On October 22, the Saratov Regional Prosecutorís Office filed 20 court claims against Internet providers requiring them to restrict access to 20 Web sites containing extremist material.† On these sites the Prosecutor's Office had identified materials containing calls for extremist activities, terrorism, or incitements toward hatred or enmity.

óThe North Ossetia Prosecutorís Office Moves to Restrict Access to 33 Sites

On October 22, 2012, the North Ossetia Prosecutor's Office reported that it had required Internet providers Rostelecom, Global Alania, and Twingo Telecom to restrict access to 33 sites containing texts included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials. These materials had been identified during audits for compliance with the law on combating extremist activity.† The Prosecutor's Office demanded that these providers install IP-address filtering on their border routers.

óThe Yamalo- Nenets Autonomous District Prosecutors Demand Access Restrictions for 6 Sites

On October 23, 2012, the Nenets Autonomous District Prosecutorís office, in the course of an audit for compliance with the law on combating extremist activity, found sites included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials to be publicly accessible. Therefore, the Prosecutor's Office filed claims in the October District Court against the Arkhangelsk branch of the Internet provider Rostelecom, requiring it to block access to the following sites: "Imarata Kavkaz," "Vilaiata Dagestan," "Veles Sloboda," "Partiia Boríby za Narodnoe SchastieĒ [Party of the struggle for the people's happiness], and ďhistorical and journalistic resources of the recipient of the ‘Hero of the Nationí order.Ē

óThe Orel Regional Prosecutorís Office Requests to Restrict Student Access to Anti-Semitic Material

On October 24, 2012, Liven Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office demanded that Rostelecom block a Web site featuring Oray Volotís book Krysolyudi, which is included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials.† In the course of inspection, the prosecutors found that students of Uspenskaya High School had access to this anti-Semitic book.

óA Prosecutor in St. Petersburg Restricts Access to a Number of Extremist Web Sites

On October 25, 2012, the Krasnogvardeisky District Prosecutor's Office of Petersburg filed claims against Internet providers Infotech and Aikonet, requesting that each provider restrict access to a number of Web sites identified during the inspection to contain public calls to extremist activity or terrorism, or incitements to racial, national or religious hatred. The Prosecutorís office also demanded restricted access to the Web sites of several banned organizations. The court granted the claim of the Prosecutor's Office in full.

Similar charges were filed by the Prosecutorís Offices of Admiralteiskii, Kirovskii, Petrogradskii, Primorski, Pushkinskii and Tsentralnyi Districts of St. Petersburg.† In addition, the Prosecutorís Offices of Admiralteiskii, Vasilievskii, Vyborgskii, Krasnoselskii, Krasnogvardeyskii, Moskovskii, Nevskii, Petrogradskii, Petrodvoretskii, and Primorskii districts made 59 motions, 21 warnings, and presented 69 petitions requesting that in the case of secondary school students, restrictions be placed on accessibility to extremist sites and sites with information on making improvised explosive devices.

Libraries and Wikipedia

ó"Lib.rus.ec" Internet Library is Blocked in Altai

On October 3, 2012, it was reported that by request of the Prosecutor's Office of the Altai Republic, providers blocked access to the popular Internet library Lib.rus.ec. The Prosecutor's Office did not demand a restriction of the entire resource, only access to extremist materials. However, providers were technically unable to block individual pages and closed access to the entire library.† This restriction was done "voluntarily, without court intervention.Ē

óA Prosecutor in Orel is Trying to Block Wikipedia

On October 22, 2012, it became known that the Soviet District Prosecutorís Office in Orel filed a lawsuit against the Internet provider Resurs Svyaz.† It required a restriction of access to the Wikipedia page on ďRussian obscenitiesĒ for students of one of the city's schools, citing the use of ďobscene words.Ē The Prosecutorís Office also requested that access to the Web site for Versailles Entertainment Center be restricted for advocating the use of ďlaughing gas.Ē† A representative from Resurs Svyaz, commenting on the Prosecutorís demand, wrote on his blog that the provider does not have the technical capabilities to block specific pages, so it will be forced to restrict access to the entire Wikipedia site by its IP-address. The provider has not yet come to a final decision regarding these Internet resources.

Anti-drugs compaign

óThe Surgut Court Issued a Decision to Block Web Sites for Pro-Drug Propaganda

On October 15, 2012, it was reported that the District Prosecutorís Office of Surgut, as a result of its audit of compliance with the law on combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, filed a lawsuit against the Internet provider Yugratel. The prosecutors sought to limit access to several Web sites that advertised drugs and psychotropic substances. The Surgut City Court granted the request of the Prosecutor's Office in full.

óThe City of Chapaevsk in the Samara Region Moves to Restrict Access to Web sites that Promote Drug Use.

In October 18, 2012, it became known that the Lenin District Court granted two claims, filed by the Chapayevskiy District Prosecutorís Office, to restrict access to sites that promoted the use of drugs and psychotropic substances. The Prosecutor's Office monitors their compliance with the court judgment.

… And the rest

óAccess to MMM Company Web Sites Are Restricted in Tomsk and the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District

On October 10, 2012, it was announced that the Nefteyugansk Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office filed a claim against the Internet provider Nefteyuganskii Zavod po Remontu Radiotelevizionnoi Apparatury [Nefteyugansk Radio and Television Sets Repair Factory]. It requested that the provider restrict access to the Web sites "MMM-2011" and "MMM-2012." An inspection conducted by the Prosecutorís Office found that these Web sites, owned by Sergey Mavrodi, offered financial services to citizens, despite the fact that the advertised projects were not registered as legal entities. Nefteyuganskii Zavod po Remontu Radiotelevizionnoi Apparatury complied with the Prosecutorís request and restricted access to the aforementioned Web sites by adding an IP-address filter at its border router.

On October 12, 2012, we received information about a similar situation in the Tomsk region.† The Tomsk Prosecutorís Office filed a claim against an Internet provider in order to restrict access to the "MMM-2011" Web site, which was found to possess attributes of a pyramid scheme.† In the course of the court deliberations, the provider has agreed to block access voluntarily.

óUpon Request of the Stavropol Regional Prosecutor's Office, a Court Ordered Providers to Restrict Access to Pro-Suicide Web Sites

On October 10, 2012, the October District Court granted the petition of the Stavropol Regional Prosecutor's Office to restrict access to Web sites that contain pro-suicide propaganda. In order to abide by the courtís decision, the Stavropol branches of Internet providers Rostelecom and Equant are required to set up content filters.

óThe Case of Blocking 20 Web Sites in the Rostov Region Goes for a New Trial

On October 20, 2012, it was announced that the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation had granted an appeal from the Prosecutor Generalís Office, sending the case against the Rostov branch of Internet provider Rostelecom to a new trial.††

In 2011, the Prosecutorís Office requested the court require the provider to block 20 sites that posted information detailing various ways to commit suicide.† In September of that year, the Leninsky District Court of Rostov-on-Don granted the claim, but the provider managed to appeal the decision.† A panel of civil case judges of the Rostov Regional Court reversed the District Courtís decision.† The Regional Prosecutor's Office appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office, with a motion to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court invalidated the decision made by the panel of judges of the regional court and ordered a new panel of appeal judges to hold a retrial.

The battles over the Register

óThe Ministry of Communications Suggested That Internet Companies Maintain a Register of Banned Sites on Their Own

On October 12, 2012, the Ministry of Communications held a meeting with representatives of the Russian Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC), consisting of the largest Internet companies. The meeting was devoted to an upcoming entry into force of law (starting November 1) on blocking access to Web sites which disseminate banned information. The Ministry of Communications has proposed that Internet companies along with "civil society representatives" and "other respected people" should form an organization, charged with maintaining a register of banned Web sites.

Representatives of major Internet companies expressed no desire to participate in such an organization. In particular, Marina Zhunich, the Google Russia Director for Cooperation with Authorities noted that in this case, they would have to enter IP-addresses and domain names into the list of banned Web sites.† The companies "were opposed to this blocking method, which can restrict all access to an otherwise legitimate site." In her opinion, the registry should be maintained by the state.† Internet companies could then join the Community Council, which would monitor enforcement of the law.

óRoskomnadzor Came to a Decision Regarding the Place to Publish the List of Banned Web Sites

On October 26, 2012, Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) announced that the list of Web sites containing banned information was going to be posted on zapret-info.gov.ru.

On November 1, 2012, the Federal Law "On Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development" comes into force.† This law mandates the creation of a "single register for domain names and site network address for the identification of sites that contain information, distribution of which is prohibited in the Russian Federation"(EAIS register).

Until a party is determined to be permanently responsible for maintaining the register, the responsibility for maintaining it falls to Roskomnadzor.† Portal zapret-info.gov.ru will send notifications to providers hosting Web sites included on the register.

Roskomnadzor stated, "After three days from the moment of notification, during which the owner of the site and/or the hosting provider must act under the laws of the Russian Federation to remove the prohibited information and/or restrict access to the site...Roskomnadzor will inspect the corresponding domain name and/or Internet address of a site for the presence of prohibited content.Ē

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