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Internet censorship possible for Russia

Posted on July 17, 2012

 

The Russian parliament has voted in favour of a law that could potentially see the internet heavily censored in the country.

The Act of Information law, which supporters claim will help in the fight against online child exploitation and other illegal and damaging activities, would allow Russia’s government to summarily block sites.

Opponents to the law say it lays the foundation for wide-ranging censorship laws. These opponents include the Russian-language Wikipedia, and popular search engine Yandex, which both took ‘blackout’ style action in protest against the vote.

Despite this, the bill is likely to come into force in November, following approval by Vlad Putin and other state bodies.

The bill has been amended since its first incarnation.

Originally, it stated that sites with “harmful information” could be shut down. However, this was changed and now contains a more restricted list of named content. In the case where the offending sites are unable to be shut down, ISPs and hosting firms will be instructed to block access to the sites.

Whilst the present bill will not directly affect the growing number of UK firms selling to Russia, it does highlight the changing landscape of the internet across the world.

Marketers working in SEO from Liverpool to London need to be aware of how geographical laws could affect their sites. It is not just with the on-page content that care is needed, but increasingly what is said on social networks. Much the same as understanding cultural differences of business trips, understanding net restrictions will help maximise opportunities.

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