Lack of freedom on the Internet: registration with passport, Golden Shield, Chinese model by German Klimenko
Five facts and proposals for restrictions on the use of the global network
Russian Deputy Vitaly Milonov has recently submitted to the parliament a controversial draft law on regulation of social networking, which proposes to limit the presence in the social networks of children under 14 and to introduce the registration with passport. Milonov's initiative has caused an ambiguous reaction — the majority of Russians has supported the first point of the draft bill, but not everyone has agreed with the second one. After the hype raised by Vitaly Milonov, Realnoe Vremya decided to recall what other attempts to limit the Internet were undertaken in Russia and many other facts.
Childcare from Vitaly Milonov
The notorious Vitaly Milonov's draft bill ''On the legal regulation of activities of social networks'' was submitted to the parliament on 10 April. It should be noted that the society has reacted ambiguously to the proposal of the deputy to limit access to social networks for children under 14, ''regardless of citizenship''.
Vitaly Milonov has proposed to introduce the registration with identity documents that will help to determine the age of a user accurately and also to exclude the possibility to register using fictitious names. The deputy did not leave it at that and proposed banning the spread in the social networking of screenshots of correspondence without the permission of the individuals involved in it.
According to a VCIOM study, 62% of Russians support a ban on access to the social network for children under 14 proposed by Milonov, however, 52% of respondents opposed the registration in social networks with the passport.
In the ranking of Internet freedom in 2016, annually published by Freedomhouse, the fifth place is taken by Uzbekistan, which this year has successfully launched the mechanism of Internet restrictions for children. A series of special tariff plans will protect immature minds from harmful information on the Network. As a ''white list'' it will be used the Unified register of information resources (ERIR) by the network ZiyoNET, through which there will be access to the websites in the global network.
Uzbekistani children will have the opportunity to use only scientific, educational, spiritual, educational and other resources for young people of educational nature, both of national and foreign segment of the Internet. This decision was dictated by the fact that parents often refuse to provide children with Internet access in order to protect their psyche.
Back on the rating of Internet freedom across countries and specifically to the position of Uzbekistan in this, it is worth noting that this result is hardly surprising. After all, Uzbekistan is one of the first countries on the Eurasian continent that started to filter the Internet content. Apparently, the Uzbekistani authorities are concerned about the potential of the Internet in a consolidation of revolutionary forces that took place in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, as well as during the riots of November 2013-February 2014 in Ukraine. Besides, the government is clearly not ready to meet criticism, as a consequence the publications with objectionable content are carefully monitored.
Great Firewall of China, or Golden Shield Project
If you look at the rating of Freedomhouse in the previous years, we can see that the last place is regularly taken by China. China started to develop the filtration system in 1998, and in 2003 it was implemented across its territory. The Shield is a system of servers on the Internet channel between providers and international information networks that filter the information.
Based on the description published on the website Techinasia, the current situation in the Chinese segment of the Network is as follows: a strict censorship was imposed, there are lists of ''bad words'' (mostly in political terms), input of which is blocked, or the activity of people using them is carefully monitored. Besides, many foreign resources (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, partially Wikipedia) are blocked in China. Local people use Chinese analogues and often do not even know about the existence of the originals. Besides, some of the scientific websites and other portals, in some way or another associated with the development of freedom of speech in the country, are blocked. Of course, bans complicate the lives of many educational institutions and hinder the businesses — any ''cloud-based office packages'' are out of the question.
Some users still manage to seep through the Shield and, as it turned out, use foreign resources mostly for entertainment or just to be in trend.
The Chinese model of the Runet from German Klimenko
The Chinese model has seriously attracted Presidential Internet Adviser of Russia German Klimenko, who in January told the press that the only way to ensure information security in Russia is the restriction of the Internet like in China.
''There is only one way out – it is the Chinese version. Certainly, the control is necessary because there are no opportunities to prevent it. China is less sensitive to public opinion, it evaluated the threat and limited the Internet. Now they have no such problems,'' said Klimenko.
Besides, the speaker called it a ''strange situation'' when on the territory of the Russian Federation there is a foreign company which earns money but does not respond to any request of law enforcement. The statement of Klimenko received threats of foreign companies. According to the adviser, if the instant messengers and social networks do not cooperate with law enforcement agencies, ''any self-respecting state ought to throw them away''.
More restrictions are needed
Another initiative of German Klimenko, which aroused the indignation of the Runet users, is an equating of the Telegram channels with the media. On air on the radio Govorit Moskva, the speaker pointed to the fact that many channels have a larger audience than some print media do, and in this regard, it would be a good idea to equate them with the media. This automatically would determine for them a number of restrictions and responsibilities and very few rights.
We will remind that earlier, a similar trick was already ''pulled off'' with bloggers: in 2014, the State Duma adopted a law that equates bloggers and users of social networks (number of subscribers should exceed three thousand people) with the media. It obliged them to follow the rules of the election campaign, not to spread extremist materials, to mark their books by age group. In their turn, the bloggers felt that the law violates their right to free expression of their opinions.