Wikipedia Blackout to Protest Russia Internet Law is a Success
On July 10, the Russian version of Wikipedia shutdown for 24 hours to protest the Russian government's proposed amendments to the country's information law allowing them to create a blacklist for websites, which sparked a scandal across social media outlets.
The hashtag # RuWikiBlackout immediately spread like wildfire on the Internet. The proposed Russian censorship law would blacklist certain IP addresses and websites containing child porn, suicide, and drugs.
The Russian Wikipedia said this law is the Russian equivalent of the Great Chinese firewall, and can limit Internet freedom across the country.
While the Russian people of course do not support harmful or unlawful content online, we agree with Wikipedia that the Russian law is unsatistactory. It would allow the government to blackout any website at will.
The question remains: Who will put a ban on the sites? In the draft law, there aren’t any regulations specifying what makes for unlawful content or legal protocol. The law is still too vague and needs to be elaborated upon.
Other large internet companies have joined with Wikipedia in its protest, including Yandex and Google. The largest Russian social media site “Vkontakte” also came out against this draft law with an informational banner on its site, which stated: “The State Duma the law on the Internet censorship is being heard.”
The protests seem to have had some impact already. After Wikipedia's strike, the Russian Duma approved a softened variant of the law which reduced the number of website that can be banned to those that deal with child porn, drugs ads, and suicide propaganda. Cabinet ministers will continue to discuss how to implement this law at new sessions in the fall.