Cyber militia

Internet>> Screening • Russia

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

imageOne day there will be thousands of volunteers out there patrolling the Internet in Russia.

That is the dream of a new organisation launched in the first week of February, the League of Internet Safety.

The league brings together the three major mobile service providers: Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom, and Megafon, and Russia’s state telecom company, Rostelecom. Russia’s communications and press minister Igor Shchyogolev heads its board of trustees. Shchyogolev said the league’s primary purpose will be to fight child pornography.

He also talked about eventually expanding that mission to policing other “negative” content—he did not say exactly what that meant, causing suspicion among many of the country’s bloggers.

The Russian Internet is the most independent media in Russia. Anton Nossik, one of Russia’s most famous bloggers, feared the League would be akin to China’s cyber-militia, which screens websites to report to the authorities.

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