Internet Censorship Begins In Russia

1 April 2013, 2:57 pm EDT By Vamien McKalin Mobile & Apps

Internet censorship has long been a central part of China and Iran, but it seems Russia is getting in on the action of blocking its citizens from visiting certain sections of the World Wide Web.

According to a report from the New York Times, the Russian government has been making heavy use of a recent law that allows it to block Internet content it sees as unlawful, illegal and dangerous to children. Since the law went into play, the government has ordered YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to remove unlawful content from its pages. So far, only YouTube has chosen to resist the demands of the Russians.

The law, according to the Russian government, is to help protect children from nastiness on the Internet.

"The child protection law, they say, builds a system for government officials to demand that companies selectively block individual postings, so that contentious material can be removed without resorting to a countrywide ban on, for example, Facebook or YouTube, which would reflect poorly on Russia's image abroad and anger Internet users at home," says the New York Times.

Recently, Facebook submitted to the demands of the Russians when it was asked to take down a page that was connected to suicide. The group in question was called "Club Suicide." While it might not have caused any harm, anything is possible when it comes to children on the Internet.

"We reviewed the content and it was removed because it violated our terms of use," the company said in a statement.

In March, Twitter began complying with Russian law by removing a post that appears to be related to illegal drugs and others for promoting suicidal thoughts.

YouTube, on the other hand, refused to remove a video that the Russian government deemed as promoting suicide. According to YouTube, the video in question highlighted a razor blade and some make-up materials, but it was only for entertainment.

Unlike China's and Iran's, Russia's Internet censorship seems to make some sense; however, one has to wonder, will there come a day when the government uses this new law to do more than originally intended?

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