Select Page

ReadWriteWeb is citing a story in Russia’s state paper Rossiiskaya Gazeta that said the Russian prosecutor’s office is moving to require Internet service providers to block web sites that carry “extremist” content.

“Freedom of speech advocates in Russia call the extremism laws too vague and sweeping, arguing that they are open for abuse by government officials,” they wrote.

“Surprisingly, surveys show that many Russians actually favor government control of the media. A 2005 study found that 82% of Russians were in favor of censorship on television, though generally that referred to the removal of “ethically questionable” material (such as sex or violence) rather than the suppression of free political thought. It should be noted that Article 29 of the Russian Constitution guarantees freedom of the press.”

Story here: “Internet Censorship Coming to Russia”

It just amazes me that the governments of major countries in this world spend so much time and effort trying to suppress Internet discourse about sex and political dissent. Yet they largely ignore entire “bullet-proof” ISPs that provide services for financial criminal activity, the banking fraud industry, vast numbers of pharma sites and sites selling goods that infringe on patents.

Do they believe that sites with sexual content are low-hanging-fruit? Clearly the suppression of opposition voices helps keep them in power.

The only half effective attack on crime on the Internet seems to be civil litigation against those distributing massive amounts of copyrighted materials and (in the U.S.) regulatory bodies — chiefly the Federal Trade Commission — going after rip-off artists. And those only started in earnest in the last year.

Also in the U.S., the FBI has made one token campaign against money mules — the lynch pin of ACH transfer fraud that rakes in over $100 million per year apparently for residents of the Ukraine. That was probably to get the attention of the idiots who fall for the “work from home” scams and get recruited to wire money out of the country.

China, which seems to shoot itself in the foot every time it tries to do anything (remember Green Dam), at least got something half right when it started requiring real identification of the owners of domains. The half they got wrong was forbidding non-registered business entities from obtaining domains at all.

And, (as long as I’m on a screed) why is the U.S. the second biggest haven for the world’s spammers? At least Brazil – the number one – can claim it’s a developing nation.

Beam me up Scotty! FAST!

Tom Kelchner