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Russia bans reddit, later lifts ban

Russia bans reddit

Russia just banned Reddit, oh wait they just lifted the ban (all in one day). What’s the story with Russia blacklisting Reddit?

Yesterday (August 13, 2015) Reddit was banned by some ISPs in Russia.  To some it was not surprising as Reddit contains a variety of topics that are criticising current laws and leadership in Russia. It was surprising to learn the topic attributed to site ban – a ‘narcotics’ thread that published intel on how to grow pot.

Russia’s three year old media agency Roskomnadzor posted a notice on their Vkontakte (Russian Facebook) page yesterday, stating that Reddit did not return their demands to remove the ‘narcotics’ page in question. Subsequently Reddit has been added to the ‘Blacklisted’ website list. Today- Reddit removed ‘the offending thread’.

Reddit is one of the many sites that did not escape the scrutiny of the ‘Blackisted law’ passed in 2012 by Russia’s governing body Duma. The blacklist is administered by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) and Federal Drug Control Service of Russia. The primary purpose for the law is protecting Russian children from harmful content; particularly that which glorifies drug usage, advocates suicide or describes suicide methods, or contain child pornography. 

People can too submit requests to Roskomnadzor. Once ‘harmful content’ is identified, the site host would get a notice asking to remove the content and have 3 days to do so – if they would not remove it willingly, the site would be added to the Blacklist. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are then asked to block the site(s) in question.

Sites banned in Russia during Roskomnadzor tenure:

  • Several English and Russian Wikipedia pages banned in 2014
  • Several LiveJournal websites by bloggers and activists

Reason cited: “making calls for unlawful activity and participation in mass events held with breaches of public order”.

  • A number of sites that report on international conflict, promote joining European Union.

Reason cited: Promoting “extremist views”

  • A huge number of internet memes declared illegal in April, 2015.

Reason cited: It is illegal to depict a public figure in a way that has nothing to do with his “personality.”

  • Several Bitcoin webpages banned in 2015

Reason cited: Contribution to ‘shadow economy’

  • A number of pornography websites banned.
  • Jehovah’s witness sites <jw.org>.

Reason cited. Promoting extremist views.

  • Sites and comments containing ‘Gay emojis’ were on the chopping block just a few weeks ago.

Reason cited. Harmful for children.

  • August 2015 – Reddit banned.
  • Sept 2016- all sites that do not comply with Russia’s Data Retention Law would be banned. To continue web operations in Russia, all web services will have to store the user data of Russians on servers within the country.

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