Russian Wikipedia goes dark in protest
The Russian version of Wikipedia is currently offline, part of a 24-hour protest by Wikipedia against proposed laws in that country aimed at blocking objectionable content online.
The government is seeking to make amendments to its Act for Information, which is due for review in the Duma, Russia’s parliament, on 11 July. If approved, it would allow the government to set up an agency which would maintain a list of banned sites.
Visitors to Wikipedia are greeted with a message which, when translated, says: “The State Duma is expected to hold a second hearing about amendments to the Information Act, which could lead to the creation of extra-judicial censorship of the entire internet in Russia, including banning access to Wikipedia in the Russian language.”
Wikipedia is comparing the law to the highly restrictive version of the web that people in China are allowed to see. The Russian government says it just wants to block out sites that encourage drug abuse and teen suicide. Keep in mind also that Russia is on the record wanting to establish a UN policy whereby nations are allowed to shut down the whole Internet within their borders when they decide they need to. Make no mistake: the iron curtain is back and this time it’s online.