January Internet Freedom Update

“You want to say something? Or you started to think deeply?”

RUSSIA

Bills providing punishment for insulting the authorities and false information are in reading

Odious bills on punishment for insulting the authorities on the internet and spreading false news have been under discussion by the State Duma. These bills have been subject to debate in society and within the government.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that “the groaning against the authorities” in the past led to the collapse of the USSR and the Russian Empire, so the introduction of responsibility for the relevant insults — is “protection of the country.” The head of the LDPR spoke approvingly about the “law on fake news”, because, in his opinion, it is necessary to suppress panic in society caused by fake news from the Internet and the media.

(https://roskomsvoboda.org/44508/)

Hundreds of millions of rubles to be spent searching for “anti-social phenomena and subcultures” on the web

Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science plans to allocate 628-million rubles for searching online for information that is dangerous to the health of children. The subsidy will be provided to the non-profit organization ‘Center for the Study and Online Monitoring of the Youth Environment’, whose activity is aimed at monitoring the distribution of information on telecommunication networks. This non-profit organization was created on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 31, 2018.

(https://roskomsvoboda.org/44255/)

Putin signs laws that partially decriminalize reposting illegal content

The penalties for posting illegal content on the internet have been changed from criminal to administrative, if they do not pose a public threat and are committed for the first time

The laws in question punish people for inciting racial, national, religious and other hostility through the internet or media. Under the new amendments, criminal liability will only be for repeat offenders.

The fine for first-time offenders will range from 10,000 to 20,000 rubles, or consist of compulsory work for up to 100 hours, or administrative arrest for up to 15 days. For legal entities the fine will be from 250,000 to 500,000 rubles.

(https://roskomsvoboda.org/44116/)

Russian Supreme Court partially legalizes “spy gadgets”

A new Supreme Court ruling decided that it is only necessary to punish people for the purchase of “spy” devices if they were used to “infringe upon the constitutional rights of citizens”.

What is meant by “spy” technologies is technological means intended for secretly obtaining information. Smartphones, video recorders and voice recorders can be recognized as such, if they are specially modified. The Supreme Court recommends not to punish people who bought “spy” pens or other devices for personal safety (to monitor their house, apartment, the safety of their relatives, animals) or by accident, according to the new decision.

According to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, illegal circulation of special technological means intended for secretly obtaining information is punishable by imprisonment of up to four years.

According to the statistics of the Judicial Department of the Armed Forces, from January to June 2018, 86 people were convicted under this law, and only one acquitted. Cases against 50 people were dismissed during the investigation.

(https://roskomsvoboda.org/44061/)

Libraries to limit number of simultaneous users of ebooks

The SKOLKOVO Foundation has developed amendments to the Civil Code, among which are rules that libraries will not be able to provide access to the same electronic copy of a publication to several users.

In March, the State Duma is scheduled to make amendments to determine the nature of free use of educational and scientific works electronically stored in libraries. The text of the proposed amendments is:

“allow libraries to provide remote access to electronic copies of books, provided that the user will not be able to copy the materials, as well as if the purpose is not to make a profit (currently the reader can access the electronic version of the book only in the library or archive);
allow people to read scientific and educational materials in electronic form, of any year of publication (currently this opportunity applies only to works that have not been reprinted in Russia for more than ten years).

Maxim Proksh, Chairman of the Intellectual Property Group, said that this would be a right, not an obligation of libraries, and also clarified that they would not be able to provide access to the same copy of an electronic work to several users at once: if a single copy is stored in the library, only one person can view it at a time, if 50 copies — then 50 users.

“We are talking mostly about literature, because access to knowledge is the goal of the bill,” said Proksch. “However, sometimes fiction can also have an educational character, for example, for students of Humanities faculties or schoolchildren, but this applies mainly to the classics, which already has the status of the public domain. According to him, the bill applies to those books that are protected by copyright: “we have no goal to bring down the publishing market, we focus solely on making educational and scientific literature available to any resident of the country without the need to make an expensive trip to the library, where the desired copy is located.”

The project is currently undergoing internal coordination, after which it will be submitted to the Commission of Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov. According to the plan, the document can be adopted in May this year.

(https://roskomsvoboda.org/44578/)

(Above content is translated and paraphrased from RoskovSvoboda.org, which is available under CC4 License)

 

CHINA

China undertakes manual internet censorship by visiting people

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190106/09204741342/chinese-police-now-performing-door-to-door-twitter-censorship.shtml

LinkedIn supports China’s censorship regime

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190109/18043041366/linkedin-is-helping-chinese-government-silence-critics.shtml

Pyscho bourgeois pigdog dictators of China use information warfare to cover up Uyghur holocaust

Save the 3 million Uyghur Muslims in Chinese concentration camps!

China releases app showing locations of nearby people who are in debt

https://www.businessinsider.com/china-app-shows-map-of-people-in-debt-for-social-credit-system-report-2019-1

 

AFRICA

Gabon, DRC, Zimbabwe shut down internet in response to conflicts

http://www.itwebafrica.com/security/513-africa/245309-internet-shutdown-in-gabon-dr-congo-condemned

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/01/18/Zimbabwe-shuts-down-Internet-access-amid-growing-unrest/4461547825545/

 

US

Conservative legislators try to clean the internet, protect children with internet porn filtering act

http://humantraffickingpreventionact.com/