Russian Internet watchdog urges ISPs to block Wikipedia

25 Aug 2015 | Author: | One comment »

Russia blocks Wikipedia page over cannabis link.

“The entry on the narcotic substance charas that is currently on Wikipedia, according to an expert conclusion of the federal drug control agency, does not breach legislation,” it said in a statement.MOSCOW: A Russian government agency ordered Internet providers block access to a page on the Russian-language version of Wikipedia for containing banned information on a type of cannabis. Under a controversial Russian law, if a website is added to the banned register on a court order, the entire site is blocked, even if the offending material is only on one page.

Since President Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012, Russia has passed legislation banning sites that contain child pornography, drug-related or militant material, or which advocate suicide. According to Wikipedia, charas is a “hashish form of cannabis which is handmade in India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Nepal and Jamaica” — places far from Chyorny Yar. Critics say the legislation restricts Internet freedom and can lead to bans on more general content, but the government says it is aimed mainly at protecting children from indecent content. Wikipedia, however, uses the https protocol for secure communication, which in turn means that providers have difficulty blocking individual articles.

Given this constraint, Roskomnadzor underlined in a statement on its Facebook page last week that Russian providers would have to block the whole Internet encyclopedia to enforce the ban on the charas entry. All but four of them were eventually removed from the list, and Wikipedia has engaged in talks with authorities about the content of the banned entries. But in the charas case, all attempts by Wikimedia to contact Roskomnadzor reportedly failed. “We tried to call them but were told that the press officer is on vacation and no one else is authorized to talk to us,” Kozlovskiy said. “They preferred to communicate via statements on the Internet instead.” On Friday, Roskomnadzor posted its last threat in the Russian social network, saying it would ask providers to block Wikipedia if the entry about the drug is not deleted.

In 2012, Wikipedia protested legislation allowing Russian authorities to block Web sites without court order, shutting down for 24 hours in the country. Wikipedia has noted that the legislation is formulated very vaguely, allowing authorities to put pressure on Web site owners and to block pages under minor pretexts.

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  1. Did you know that Russian language is the most widely spoken among Slavic languages. You should certainly learn it – there are about 300 million total speakers of Russian in the world. Join them now on

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