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  • Earthling 12:01 am on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Artem Kozlyuk, blocking IPs, blocking IPs without court, Elvira Baiullina, extrajudicial blocking, , Russian Central Bank, , Russian internet freedom   

    Russian Central Bank seeks right to extrajudicially block sites 

    The Russian Central Bank has developed a draft amendment to the law “On information”, allowing the regulator to block sites, located in Russia or abroad, if they are used for financial fraud.

    The Central Bank wants to get the right to block sites that are used for financial fraud, without trial. This idea, according to “Vedomosti”, was discussed last week at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov. The regulator has developed a draft amendment to the law “On information”, giving it such powers regardless of whether the site is located in the Russian or foreign zone. If the Central Bank receives such powers, it will become the seventh state body that has the right to place sites in the Register of Prohibited Information.

    The regulator aimed at sites whose names are similar to others, which allows them to mislead consumers, as well as sites that provide financial services without a license. The right to block such sites will be granted to either the Chairman of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina, or one of her deputies.

    Also, the Central Bank wants to block sites that provide access to the resources of financial and credit institutions, not without trial, but in the pre-trial phase, using the block as an interim security measure. Finally, the Central Bank asks for the authority to block sites that spread false information about the state of financial institutions. But this idea was not supported by Akimov.

    The major Russian bank VTB supports the initiative of the Central Bank, as it considers it an effective method of combating fraud and the spread of malicious software, said the representative of the VTB. An employee of another large bank agreed with this. The rights of consumers can be protected by out-of-court blocking of phishing sites on foreign domains and sites that provide financial services, said Elman Mehdiyev, Executive Vice President of the Association of Russian banks.

    The head of the public organization “Roskomsvoboda” Artem Kozlyuk, in comments for “Vedomosti”, said that in contrast, he does not support this initiative, as violators can instantly move and continue their activities, and respectable sites that are unlucky enough to “live” on blocked IP-addresses and subnets will stop working:

    “More and more websites are being blocked by mistake without trial or before trial, so there is no need to expand the list of agencies with such powers. And sites that are blocked without trial cannot quickly challenge the regulator’s actions, and to make their sites available to users they have to remove the disputed information.”

    In July last year, the Central Bank discussed with the Ministry of Communications (now — the Ministry of Finance) a bill to empower it to block websites of financial pyramids in the pre-trial phase. The regulator planned to collect the web adresses of organizations that conduct illegal financial transactions and send them to Roskomnadzor.

    At the end of 2016, the Central Bank signed an agreement with the Coordination Center (CC) of the national internet domain — the administrator of national top-level domains “.rf” and “.ru” — according to which the Central Bank has received the status of a competent organization with the right to identify violating sites that distribute malware, resources with illegal content, and phishing sites, and to provide this data to the Coordination Center and accredited domain name registrars so they can block such sites. Last year, the Central Bank of Russia initiated the blocking of several hundred such internet resources.

    Translated from Roskomsvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/41143/

    In the comments section it was suggested that these government agencies with the authority to extrajudicially block sites may start blocking each other soon.

     
  • Earthling 5:08 pm on June 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: banned meat, banned meat in Russia, beef, , , , Kukmorsky, Kukmorsky district, Kukmorsky district prosecutor, Kukmorsky prosecutor, offal, pork, , , Russian internet freedom, , Russian sanctions,   

    Russia: Prosecutors seek to block online information about forbidden meat 

    In Tatarstan, the local prosecutor’s office is seeking to block websites selling prohibited products from a number of countries to Russia.

    In the Kukmorsky District of the Republic of Tatarstan, the prosecutor’s office, while monitoring the internet for banned information, found two websites that contained information about direct imports of beef, pork and offal from a number of countries that Russia had imposed sanctions on.

    However, from the information published on the website of the Kukmorsky Prosecutor’s Office, it is not entirely clear from which countries the Russian users are offered to purchase beef, pork and offal. Although at first the prosecutors talk about Ukraine, South America and the EU, when they refer to the RF Government decree, it is already about North America:

    “In accordance with Clause 1 of the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation ‘On measures to implement the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of August 6, 2014 No. 560 On the Application of Special Economic Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation’, by December 31, 2018, the importation to the Russian Federation of agricultural products, raw materials and food products originating from the United States of America, the countries of the European Union, Canada, Australia, the Kingdom of Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Albania, Montenegro Iceland, the Republic of Iceland and the Principality of Liechtenstein.”

    Perhaps the work of the prosecutors from Tatarstan was affected by the blocks by Roskomnadzor, which led to the malfunctioning of Google services, including geographic focus?

    In order to suppress unlawful activities, the district prosecutor requested the court to recognize this information as prohibited for distribution throughout the Russian Federation and to block the resources. The prosecutor’s request is currently under consideration, as reported on the website of the Kukmorsky Prosecutor’s Office.

    Translated from RosKomSvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/39741/

     
  • Earthling 6:46 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Big Data, Boston Consulting Group, encryption, global marketing, global policy, hackers, Kripta technology, Mikhail Kozinski, MKS, Ms. Kasperskaya, , net neutrality in russia, Nikita Mikhalkov, , , russian counterterrorism, russian hackers, Russian infocommunication code, , Russian internet freedom, , stenography, Steven Spielberg, , , , ,   

    The Yarovaya package, Big Data, and the death of network neutrality: The last frontier 

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    What awaits us after the entry into force of the “Yarovaya” law on July 1, 2018? Increased rates for internet services? Tighter authoritarian control over citizens? The end of network neutrality?

    In the very near future, this year in fact, in connection with the entry into force of new regulations on total network surveillance of Russian citizens, it is likely that such negative scenarios will play out. We will pay more for the internet and other modes of communication. Resources that are unsuitable for the state or individual corporations will be prohibited, or harder to access because they did not fall into the “fast track” determined by internet providers. For access to YouTube, WhatsApp and Skype you will pay a separate fee, and instead of them “import-substituting” services will be imposed.

    Network Neutrality

    What is on the verge of being lost is the principle of network neutrality, whereby access to all resources is allowed without restrictions, as long as the information published is not prohibited by law. In full compliance with this principle, operators must pass traffic at the same speed, regardless of whether it comes from a small site or a giant corporation.

    In 2015, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced the principle of full network neutrality, forbidding providers from blocking websites or applying discriminatory measures against any internet traffic. But at the end of 2017 the FCC changed its mind and began the process of abolishing these neutrality rules, while the supporters of this move call it the “RESTORING INTERNET FREEDOM ORDER”.

    The ability of politicians to distort things is simply amazing: to restrict the functioning of sites and services is “restoration of internet freedom”!

    The FCC press release said:

    “Restoring a favorable climate for network investment is key to closing the digital divide, spurring competition and innovation that benefits consumers.

    Generally speaking, it can be said that internet providers (especially cellular operators) are seeking to earn more money. In particular, having bitten off a decent chunk of the media companies’ revenues, they are also sharing with the politicians who lobbied the decision to abolish network neutrality. And this is all under the banner of freedom.

    The possibility of an early cancellation of network neutrality caused a storm of indignation in the US: Silicon Valley, digital human rights defenders, and the media sector have met this initiative furiously.

    The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, spoke out against changes in American internet policy: “Network neutrality — the principle that Internet service providers treat all traffic equally, underpins the internet as we know it today.”

    Already more than 2.4 million people have signed a petition in defense of the principles of network neutrality. A number of IT giants have declared their readiness to participate in the forthcoming trials against the FCC.

    Also, most senators are determined to abolish the FCC decision. All 49 Democrats support the resolution to abolish the FCC decision, along with a Republican senator from Maine. The supporters of network neutrality in Congress have had only 60 days to use the law on revision. The deadline is June 12. On May 9, the senators submitted a petition that would allow a vote to be taken to abolish the FCC decision.

    And what about Russia?

    At present the principle of network neutrality in Russia is observed by providers in practice, but at the legislative level it is not defined.

    At the end of 2017, the Media-Communications Union, represented by the largest telecommunications operators and media holdings of Russia, started developing the Infocommunication Code, a single document that is intended to replace the existing laws “On Communications”, “On Information, Information Technologies and Protection information”, and “On personal data”.

    The new legislation will take into account not only technologies and relations within the industry, but also “the opportunities and risks inherent in their development, including the exchange of information between devices, ensuring constitutional rights to privacy, protection of personal data, etc.”

    The Infocommunication Code project provides for a “soft interpretation” of the principle of network neutrality, where “reasonable restriction and control of traffic” is allowed. For example, an operator will be able to manage traffic during network congestion and provide priority access to its own content or partner content.

    “We create regulations not for the sake of regulation, but for the sake of creating a unified competitive environment. This is the first task. The second task is to protect national content.” said MKS President, Pavel Stepanov.

    This he said, when he lobbied for laws on online video sites and SMS registration in messengers (in fact, de-anonymization of all users of these services).

    In other words, we can assume that when the Infocommunication Code comes into force, figuratively speaking, the latest film from Nikita Mikhalkov will download faster than a blockbuster from Steven Spielberg.

    The first version of the Infocommunication Code was intended to appear by April 2018. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is working on its creation on the order of the MKS, and signed a contract for $600 thousand.

    Yet this first version has still not appeared. Some information did get out, however. It was pointed out that the Code is intended to consolidate the principle of network neutrality as it operates today. At the same time, the developers of the concept indicate that it is necessary to work out the issues of traffic management in case of network accidents, as well as the possibility of slowing down certain types of traffic, in particular, P2P – the network principle on which user file-sharing and torrent trackers work.

    And what is the connection between the InfoCode and the Yarovaya package?

    The Yarovaya package comes into force on July 1. According to this pair of laws, ISPs are obliged to record and store all user traffic for up to 6 months: text messages, voice data, images, sounds, video and other messages of users of communication services. This could mean:

    • ISP expenses are rising
    • Communication becomes more expensive
    • A wave of indignation among internet users
    • Power rating is reduced

    This is one option.

    Another option is filtering traffic by content type, and limiting the speed of access to certain resources and types of communication.

    The main portion of Russian internet traffic is video content. And regardless of whether it is required to store it under the law or not, it just makes sense to take media resources and require an extra fee for access to them at normal speeds. This will not increase the overall cost for subscribers, since it will cover the costs for online cinemas and other sites with video content.

    Torrent trackers will also be slowed down under the filter, but this is in tune with the “anti-piracy law”. This will allow them to swing audiences towards legal online cinemas,. Music and game content will also be taken under control.

    No matter how you look at it, this is bad news for the users. How this deterioration will affect the general political situation is hard to predict (we are not in Europe or the US, where any little attempt to harm the freedom of the internet brings hundreds of thousands to the streets, or even millions).

    The Great Game, Big Data

    On September 1, 2015, the law on the storage of personal data of Russians in the territory of the Russian Federation came into force. Many foreign companies in response just moved their servers outside of Russia.

    Ms. Kasperskaya has long openly stated that “big user data” of Russians should be recognized as the property of the state. Also, her subgroup “Internet+society” has offered to regulate the collection of impersonal big data, which can be used to identify the user.

    Believe me – with this approach, we ourselves will soon be recognized as the property of the state. It’s been tacitly acknowledged, and for a long time…

    It is interesting – and what do such statements mean by the term “state”? Who exactly should these data belong to?

    With such data in your hands, you can make a fairly accurate “digital portrait” of a person.

    In 2012, Mikhail Kozinski proved that analyzing 68 likes on Facebook is enough to determine skin color (with 95% accuracy), sexual preferences (88% accuracy) and political views (85% accuracy).

    Kozinski’s model helps to know more about a person than his colleagues do after ten studied likes. After 70 likes, more than a friend. After 150 likes – more than parents. After 300 likes – more than a partner. An even greater number of studied actions helps to learn more about the person more than he himself.

    There is a story that after analyzing the data of 200 million American citizens on the model of Kozinski, a certain group that specializes in election campaign managed to influence the course of the last US elections, through targeted content. Another trump card for opponents of the current US President.

    Russia is not far behind in terms of big data analysis. This is normal practice all over the world.

    For example, the Kripta technology, which allows Yandex to evaluate a user’s gender, age category, income level and many other personal characteristics, was launched in 2011. Previously you could even check the results for yourself. The results were not always successful, but a lot of progress has been made since then.

    I just want to emphasize what power lies in Big Data. And why politicians are so eager to get this data… They already have domestic social networks and search engines up their sleeves, and now they want Google, Facebook and Twitter.

    And since they can’t get the data directly from these companies, they are using a completely legal basis, in the name of combating crime and terrorism, to obtain the data from ISPs.

    Rostelecom has already announced its interest in this market and is ready to invest 40 billion rubles in the construction of data centers. Furthermore, Rostelecom plans to acquire the Data Storage Center (SafeData trademark) from Gazprombank. Rostelecom and SafeData intend to create a network for storing and analyzing big data on a truly Federal scale.

    Encrypted traffic

    ͓͓̠̮ͤ͛ͧ̾̋́ ́̾ͧ͠ ̟̤͍̓́ ͙̿͐ͭ̓͐̐̒ ̙̤̺̞̹̏̿̅̄̊ͅͅ ̻̤̪͢ ̼̥̟̟̬͗̒́͋̕ ̞̗̲̪̼̱̙̐̐̓̕ ͚̫̣̖ͣ̌́́̔̓ ͒̄ͨ̌̆̀́͏͎̯ ̞̟̥̺̟̾̅̉̿͋̓ͩ̕ ̱̪͎̻ͣ̇̅̐̿̒ ̉͠ͅ ̸͚̘̜͎̫͗̍̓̈̋̈̇ ̭̼͙̬̭̎̑͛̕ ͮͨ͆́ ̛̣̭̞̙̪̟̯͆̅͊̐̒ ͚͕͙̭͎̃̔̌̽͑ͦ͜ ͔͍̺̓ͪ̓ͯ̄ͅ ̲͎̣̙͎̗͛̃̃͋̋͞ ̼̓ͪ̑ͤ̾̏ ͨ̃͐̅̂̾͞ ̹̰̘̳̣̝͆ͮ̍ ̥̜̰̭̌̑̋͌ͬ͋͟ ̯̜̹̲̝̬͈̌ͫ ̠̘̬̯̳̙͉͊͂̈́̅͒́ ̥̫͈̹ͪ ̤̥͉͉̙͢ ̥̅̽͆ͭ͠ ͚̭̹̻̖̺ͪ ͋̈͊̚͏̻̫̳͙ ̅̉ͣ̊ͫ͏̥̻̟̰̥ ̵̘̫̱̂ͤ͋̌ ̉̒͊̊̿ ̜̘̺͔̞̦̋ͯ͐ͭ ̺̱̤̰̓̈́̂̿̃͒͌ ̸̳̒̾ͪ ̹̰͌ͯ͂̚ ̩͉ͥ̽ͭͪͮ̾͊ ͗̽̎ͬ̚͡ ̙̙ ̠̿ͭͭ̂ ͍̮̩͇̹̌ͨͥ ̹̪̭̬͈̾͑̅̉̇ͫ͐ ͉̟̮̫̝̾͒ͤ̉̎̚ ̨̏͒ ͓͓̠̮ͤ͛ͧ̾̋́ ́̾ͧ͠ ̟̤͍̓́ ͙̿͐ͭ̓͐̐̒ ̙̤̺̞̹̏̿̅̄̊ͅͅ ̻̤̪͢ ̼̥̟̟̬͗̒́͋̕ ̞̗̲̪̼̱̙̐̐̓̕ ͚̫̣̖ͣ̌́́̔̓ ͒̄ͨ̌̆̀́͏͎̯ ̞̟̥̺̟̾̅̉̿͋̓ͩ̕ ̱̪͎̻ͣ̇̅̐̿̒ ̉͠ͅ ̸͚̘̜͎̫͗̍̓̈̋̈̇ ̭̼͙̬̭̎̑͛̕ ͮͨ͆́ ̛̣̭̞̙̪̟̯͆̅͊̐̒ ͚͕͙̭͎̃̔̌̽͑ͦ͜ ͔͍̺̓ͪ̓ͯ̄ͅ ̲͎̣̙͎̗͛̃̃͋̋͞ ̼̓ͪ̑ͤ̾̏ ͨ̃͐̅̂̾͞ ̹̰̘̳̣̝͆ͮ̍ ̥̜̰̭̌̑̋͌ͬ͋͟ ̯̜̹̲̝̬͈̌ͫ ̠̘̬̯̳̙͉͊͂̈́̅͒́ ̥̫͈̹ͪ ̤̥͉͉̙͢ ̥̅̽͆ͭ͠ ͚̭̹̻̖̺ͪ ͋̈͊̚͏̻̫̳͙ ̅̉ͣ̊ͫ͏̥̻̟̰̥ ̂

    So, the ground is prepared – according to the law, the data of Russian users is stored in Russia (in theory), online cinemas will be under control, soon ISPs will store the data of “owners” of traffic, and registration in messengers should be via SMS.

    Next we need to access the data of users from these messengers, so that also can be analyzed. But there’s a bit of an obstacle. End-to-end encryption, which is used in many modern messengers such as Telegram, does not allow you to just take and read someone’s correspondence, roughly speaking. You need to get the keys to decrypt the traffic, under the guise of a backdoor for security services.

    The Telegram messenger is used by millions – and it is a tasty morsel for analysts and special services. Having received from Pavel Durov his refusal to provide keys, it was decided to unchain Roskomnadzor, which began to shoot in all directions. It killed everyone but Telegram.

    Accessing a user’s device never represented a problem for intelligence services or hackers.

    It’s quite easy, just access their device or account. No need to decrypt the traffic. The difference is that the state wants to legally obtain the information to which it previously had illegal access, and gather all the data together. So that the hackers can then trade the stolen data on the black market…

    I cannot but mention that on July 28, 2017, the “Digital economy” project (RF Government Decree No. 1632-R) was approved, which is a project on the formation of a global system for processing all personal data of all Russian citizens and the development of artificial intelligence.

    The essence of the project of end-to-end identification is to assign each citizen a number (personal code, electronic ID). The ID will be a kind of key to access the full file with information about the person from the various information bases currently formed in all spheres of their life.

    What to do? The last frontier

    It’s a complex issue. There is an opportunity to confuse all the cards and bypass the bans through anonymous networks and VPNs, although legislation has already introduced a mechanism for their strict regulation. But how the law will be executed isn’t absolutely clear yet. Although it came into force on November 1, 2017, the law still does not work effectively, and this was acknowledged by Roskomnadzor. Despite this, the state Duma is considering new laws with sanctions against VPNs, proxies and search engines for failure to comply with the requirements of the authorities to filter traffic and disclose data.

    But if through some incredible genius the authorities are be able to eliminate access to anonymous technologies, freedom will end. This is the last frontier.

    There is also a bill to block information on the internet that discredits the honor, dignity or business reputation of a citizen or legal entity. Who is the first person to be protected? And soon they will block without trial.

    But as you know – the more pressure, the stronger the resistance.

    Anonymous networks and VPNs are thriving. It is important that VPNs not only open access to blocked resources, but also hide all traffic from the ISP. The state accuses anonymizing technologies and cryptocurrencies of all mortal sins.

    Only anonymous technologies and anonymous cryptocurrencies, combined with cash, will save this world from the Great Trouble.

    But those who seize virtually unlimited power through the senseless introduction of technologies in state administration will be severely punished for this. Any system is subject to hacking.

    I’m still interested in the question: why don’t we include cameras and microphones in our homes as counter-terrorism efforts, so we can analyze and store all this data for several years? Isn’t reading and storing our correspondences the same invasion of privacy? What will come next after the Yarovaya package, under a good pretext? All of us will be marked like animals with microchips, placed under video surveillance in our homes, and once a month we will be obliged to go to the investigator for an interrogation? Within the framework of “counteraction to something” you can push any idea.

    You can imagine such a news item: “The terrorists planned the attack, actively discussed it on Telegram / Viber / Email / Whatever, were tracked by FSB agents, and arrested on the same day.” Who are the idiots here, the terrorists or the readers? Or do the officials seriously want to convince someone that terrorism is built on open communication channels?

    And did you know that besides cryptography there is also steganography, which allows you to exchange encrypted messages under the guise of any inconspicuous image? If you modify this method a bit, you can exchange messages very quickly. Even I, without being a specialist, would be able to offer a dozen useful methods to conduct absolutely secret correspondences online. In this case, no one can get the key — it is only for the sending and receiving parties.

    This is a global policy, this is global marketing

    So, it turns out that the state wants to monitor our every step, to sell and use our data and most importantly, all at our expense. And this is only the beginning.

    Relevant Links

    https://vpnlove.me/en

    https://www.psiphon3.com/

    https://www.torproject.org/

    https://zenmate.com/

    https://www.hideman.net/

     
  • Earthling 8:09 pm on June 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Illegal downloading in Russia, , , Runet, Russian internet freedom, , , , Yandex search,   

    Yandex, the biggest pirate of the Runet 

    Yandex is the biggest resource for finding pirated content on the Runet.

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    The head of the online cinema Ivi, Oleg Tumanov, said that Yandex’s share in the search traffic of the ten largest Russian pirate film services is 78%.

    Search engines are the main source of traffic to pirated resources, continued Oleg Tumanov in his presentation during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). These statistics came from Similarweb and Yandex.Metrics.

    “The large pirate sites were generally blocked,” he said earlier in an interview with the Russian media, “but then there were medium and small-sized pirate sites that rise in search results, mainly on Yandex, and not on Google. Yandex allows you to find pirated resources and watch their content, which creates huge problems for legal distribution.”

    Alexander Akopov, a member of the Board of the Association of Cinema and Television Producers and co-founder of the producing company Cosmos Studio, said that Yandex today is the main platform for finding pirated content in Russia. According to him, piracy in also done with Google, but the American company does less harm:

    “We are negotiating with Yandex for a settlement of the situation of the search providing pirated content, but so far it has been inconclusive.”

    Yandex’s search engine operates in accordance with the current legislation. The company explained that “videotapes are placed on third-party sites and are played in the player from these sites, and the search engine only shows links to these videos.”

    Alexei Birdin, the General Director of the Internet-Video company, which unites the virtual cinemas Ivi, Megogo, TVZavr, Amediateka, and TV1000Play, pointed out that there is indeed a problem with the distribution of pirated content in Yandex search.

    “At the moment, Yandex search services represent the main source of traffic for pirated sites. The Yandex.Video service is the largest pirated video portal of the Runet,” he said.

    According to J’son & Partners Consulting, the volume of the legal paid video services market in Russia increased by 42% in 2017, to 15.9 billion rubles. Online cinemas account for 71.6% of total video services revenue.

    A year ago, copyright holders accused another service of the Russian internet giant, Yandex.Music, of expanding piracy. In the queue are Yandex.Traffic and Yandex.Weather.

    Translated from https://roskomsvoboda.org/39217/

     
  • Earthling 9:43 pm on May 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexander Zharov, , , Pavel Durov, Roskomsvoboda, Roskomzadnor, , Russian internet freedom, , , ,   

    Russia: The Head of Roskomnadzor intends to continue to destroy the Runet 

    The head of Roskomnadzor, which has been severely damaging the Runet especially with its recent Telegram ban, has spoken after a period of silence. Alexander Zharov was silent for almost the whole period of intensive “carpet bombing” of IP addresses, but now has finally begun to give some comments — and they do not inspire optimism.

    Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Forum, the head of Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov finally broke his nearly month-long period of silence, making several statements that greatly surprised the internet community with their pretentiousness and detachment from reality. In particular, Zharov quite optimistically evaluated the work of his agency and the results of “carpet bombing of IP-addresses”, because of which, let us recall, the proper functioning of the Runet has been broken. There was no recognition of the erroneousness of the chosen method of “chasing Telegram”; on the contrary, Zharov considered Roskomnadzor’s actions justified.

    The Roskomnadzor assures us that the “degradation” of the messenger “was within a day from 15% to 35-40% on various smartphones.” The decrease of advertising and users, according to Zharov, reaches 25%. Earlier, the company M13, the creator of the Katushya information and analysis system, which is used by the presidential administration to monitor social networks and the internet, did not observe any “degradation” of Telegram.

    Let us recall also the data of the Telegram Analytics service, a month after Roskomnadzor’s ban was initiated by the Tagansky District Court of Moscow. According to their data the loss for the popular Telegram messenger turned out to be incommensurably small compared to the efforts of the supervisory agency, which in fact led to significant disruptions in the functioning of the Runet. The real decline of Telegram activity in Russia was approximately 2%.

    In addition, Alexander Zharov assured us that major internet companies have ceased to help Telegram bypass the block. “We are continuing dialogue. Microsoft stopped allowing Telegram to use the configuration file of the Microsoft Download service; Google informed us that the provision of IP addresses to Telegram has been suspended. That is, the process is ongoing,” Zharov said.

    It should be noted that Alexander Zharov has long been in the habit of making such statements, which do not necessarily correspond to reality. After a while the head of Roskomnadzor will word-for-word reiterate what he said earlier about his agency being “in dialogue” with this or that company that “is about to transfer its servers to Russia,” or “build data centers,” “agree to ban Telegram,” etc.

    According to Zharov, the blocking of Telegram is “our first experience of blocking not a site, but an application,” and “this is a process,” and “interaction with international companies is also a process,” and Roskomnadzor is in “constant contact” with them.

    The subject of the Telegram messenger created by Pavel Durov has been the theme of several recent speeches by the head of Roskomnadzor Alexander Zhurov. On May 25, he affirmed the legitimacy of the requirement for Telegram to provide encryption keys from user correspondences. The official called the messenger’s philosophy “absolutely illegal,” as it contains a lot of illegal and extremist content. He added that there is incontrovertible evidence, but did not disclose any in particular. Also, he did not specified which time period is involved.

    “All the recent terrorist acts that occurred in our country and abroad were coordinated through the Telegram messenger. Therefore, if I have to choose between comfort and security, I personally choose security,” the head of the Roskomnadzor said.

    However, neither Zharov himself nor the agency he directs guarantee the security of internet resources. On the contrary, they make an “invaluable contribution” to the process of disrupting the work of thousands of websites whose owners suffer reputational and material losses, and the lives of millions of Russian citizens who experience great inconvenience, sharply plunging from the modern era in the pre-digital era, in which messengers, online cards, ticket sales services, cash desks, encyclopedias, teaching aids and other important services in our time are not working.

    According to Zharov, the founder of Telegram Pavel Durov is a pirate. The piracy, in his opinion, is every attempt to bypass the Telegram block. Telegram, says Zharov, hides behind the live shield of bona fide internet resources, with which it is hosted on some IP addresses: “Unfortunately, at present the application, thanks to the actions of its programmers, seems to be hiding behind a human shield consisting of transnational companies and respectable resources, with which it is hosted on the same IP addresses.”

    Zharov also went after Vkontakte for piracy: “Unfortunately, the philosophy of the creators of Telegram, as well as the creators of the VKontakte network, is in the zone of absolute piracy.” But he also added that the situation with the Vkontakte social network has changed in a positive direction, and mentioned how steps were taken to legalize music and video under the direction of the MailRu Group.

    Arguing for the fight against piracy, Zharov assures us that it contributed to the growth of the legal online video market. He cited the data of TMT Consulting, according to which the Russian online cinema market grew by 60% in 2017, to 7.7 billion rubles, and the paying audience grew by 30% to 2.6 million users.

    Over the past year (April 2017 – April 2018) Roskomnadzor received more than 1,600 definitions from the Moscow City Court on the adoption of response measures to deal with 4,000 internet resources that violate the law in the field of protection of exclusive rights. Access to 380 sites was limited, while the rest of the pirated content was removed. More than 900 pirated internet resources are blocked on an ongoing basis.

    As noted by A. Zharov, the cross-border nature of violations of intellectual property rights in the digital sphere dictates the need for close international cooperation between rights holders, internet companies, and regulators. At the same time, Roskomnadzor “considers first and foremost the support and development of Russian markets.”

    Zharov’s agency is unrelenting in its attempts to block Telegram with many proposals, first undertaken at the dawn of the IP-address “carpet bombing.” “Roskomnadzor is engaging in dialogue with lawyers from Google and Apple on the removal or restriction of access to the Telegram application in the online stores of the companies,” the head of the department said.

    According to him, the lawyers of Roskomnadzor and companies “interpret the third point of the court’s decision in different ways. The third point says that Roskomnadzor and other legal persons should restrict access to the application.” Zharov specified that Google and Apple do not want to recognize themselves as “other legal persons.”

    “They want a direct demand to companies,” explained Zharov.

    Alexander Zharov also returned to his favorite topic – his promises to check Facebook for the implementation of Russian laws (in particular, 242-FZ on the transfer of personal data of Russians to the territory of the Russian Federation). So far, he said, the idea of blocking the social network is not worth it.

    “Depending on the results of the inspection, we can fine them, or obtain legally significant documents from them when they intend to comply with the laws of the Russian Federation. This process will start at the end of this year,” Zharov said.

    Zharov noted that today the “hot topic” is the dissemination of unreliable information on social networks. “False information is literally a scourge. There should be accountability for fake news, but the matter of exactly how requires discussion. Most often this information is distributed on social networks with encrypted traffic.”

    He noted that it is impossible to block only one Facebook account, because of the peculiarities of the platform’s architecture, the whole social network would have to be blocked. “Therefore, we need to discuss other means of punishment — perhaps financial ones,” Zharov added.

    In April, the State Duma passed in the first reading a bill imposing a fine of up to 50 million rubles for refusing to remove inaccurate and defamatory information in social networks. The bill also equates the social network with “organizers of information dissemination” and presumes rather serious sanctions in case of its non-fulfillment. The document imposes a number of duties on the owners of social networks, such as the creation of a representative office in the territory of the Russian Federation, the removal upon demand of inaccurate information described in the bill, the observance of relevant prohibitions and restrictions during elections or referendums, and the establishment of a program for counting certain users indicated by Roskomnadzor, and so on and so forth.

    Alexander Zharov, as we see, does not intend to offer any apologies for the clumsiness of his agency, although it is not only inevitable mistakes that can be seen in the work of Roskomnadzor, but also obvious abuses of authority and violations of Russian legislation. Let us recall how the internet ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev said that the Prosecutor General’s Office should verify the legality of Roskomnadzor’s actions. Also, an entrepreneur who was harmed by the “IP bombing” sued Roskomnadzor for 5 million rubles, although the case has been left without a motion until June 7. The human rights organization Agora announced the preparation of a number of lawsuits, and in addition RosKomSvoboda appealed to business and ordinary users with a proposal to complain about the actions of Roskomnadzor to the relevant bodies. The blocking of the messenger itself has been combated by RosKomSvoboda and Agora, the latter having filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which was registered less than two weeks ago.

    Translated from RosKomSvoboda (https://roskomsvoboda.org/39193/)

     
  • Earthling 12:14 am on May 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fine for search engine, Fine for VPN in Russia, Fines in Russia, , Russia banned site circumvention, , Russian internet freedom, , VPN in Russia   

    Russia: A bill with fines for VPNs and search engines has been passed 

    The bill imposes a fine of up to 300,000 rubles for a hosting provider or anonymizer’s failure to submit information about users to the government, and up to 700,000 rubles for search engine providing links to prohibited sites.

    The Russian parliament returned to consideration of Bill No. 195449-7, which proposes to amend the Administrative Code on Fines for Search Engines and Circumvention Services for Failure to Comply with Federal Law 276-FZ, which prohibits services from providing Russians with the opportunity to bypass blocks, and prohibits search engines from providing links to banned resources.

    So, for hosting providers or anonymizers failing to submit data on the owners of circumvention means for accessing forbidden sites, or information about the notification of the owners of the need to provide identification, an administrative fine is established: for citizens, from 10,000 to 30,000 rubles, and for legal entities, from 50,000 to 300,000 rubles.

    For the issuance by search engines of links to prohibited sites, it is proposed to impose fines of 3,000 to 5,000 rubles for citizens, from 30,000 to 50,000 rubles for officials, and from 500,000 to 700,000 rubles for legal entities.

    The authors of the initiative were MPs Maxim Kudryavtsev (United Russia), Nikolai Ryzhak (Just Russia), and Alexander Yushchenko (Communist Party of the Russian Federation). Last Fall, the bill passed its first reading in the State Duma. Now it has just passed its second reading.

    The consideration of the bill took no more than five minutes for the deputies, and was passed without any discussions, which certainly raises questions, since two amendments were proposed to the document on the first reading, as reported by a member of the State Duma Committee for State Construction and Legislation, Z. Baiguskarov (United Russia). He also reminded the deputies that the bill is aimed at establishing responsibility for the failure to comply with the law on the regulation of search engines and VPNs. “The bill has passed legal and linguistic examinations,” the deputy noted. “The Committee recommends voting for the table of amendments and adopting the bill in the second reading.”

    The bill was passed by the State Duma in the second reading, with 340 votes in favor and one against, with no abstentions.

    Let us recall that the law on strict regulation of circumvention means came into force in November last year, but the authorities have hitherto not been in a hurry to proactively deal with search engines and VPN services, since there was still no procedure for compelling them to cooperate. According to the federal law 276-FZ, services that should block access to banned sites in Russia are determined by the FSB and other structures that conduct operational search activity (RDD).

    Translated from RosKomSvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/39092/

     
  • Earthling 11:26 pm on May 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: criticism of Telegram ban, effect of Telegram ban on universities, ITMO University, open letter, open letter against Telegram ban, Rector of ITMO, Russian internet freedom, , Vladimir Vasilyev   

    Russia: Rector of ITMO University writes open letter condemning Telegram ban 

    The Rector of ITMO University (St. Petersburg) Vladimir Vasilyev published an open letter addressed to the advisor of the President of the Russian Federation Herman Klimenko, on behalf of the university, with a suggestion to stop the process of blocking the messaging app Telegram.

    According to Vasilyev, the blocking of many IP addresses including some belonging to Amazon, Microsoft and Google, undertaken by Roskomnadzor to stop the functioning of Telegram, has lead to serious problems in the work of scientists and teachers at Russian universities. “Many aspects of the work of our scientists — above all, on projects done in cooperation with foreign colleagues — have actually been paralyzed due to the blocking of IP addresses of the above-mentioned companies,” Vasiliev writes.

    Among the main problems encountered by ITMO University researchers as a result of Telegram’s blocking are the restriction of access to articles in international scientific journals, the difficulty of working with foreign colleagues on Google Drive and Google Docs, and the complete stoppage of the university’s online course “How to win programming olympics: the secrets of champions”, which was placed on the open education platform edX.

    The actions of Roskomnadzor undermine the reputation of Russian universities and directly interfere with their effectiveness, says Vasiliev. “If Roskomnadzor continues its current policy, this will inevitably lead to ITMO University and many other leading Russian research and education centers soon losing their high positions in the field of international scientific research and open education, and they will be on the sidelines of global scientific and technological progress,” he writes.

    The Rector of ITMO urges Herman Klimenko to intervene in the actions of Roskomnadzor “in order to prevent catastrophic consequences for the future of Russia arising from the present situation.”

    Telegram is an instant messenger created by Pavel Durov in 2013. Restriction of access to Telegram began on April 16, 2018 due to the refusal of the company’s management to provide the FSB with encryption keys. Together with the Telegram servers, Roskomnadzor has included in its register of banned sites more than 18 million IP addresses of hosting providers such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Digital Ocean.

    Translated from Edutainme: http://www.edutainme.ru/post/rektor-itmo-telegram/

     
  • Earthling 2:43 pm on May 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NTP, , , , , Russian internet freedom, , , time synchronization network in Russia   

    Russia: Roskomnadzor is trying to desynchronize time 

    Roskomnadzor is trying to desynchronize time

    A new ricochet from Roskomnadzor’s IP “carpet bombing” has struck the NTP – the network protocol resources used to synchronize the internal clocks of computers.

    Based on the decision of the General Prosecutor’s Office of 27-31-2018 / ID 2971-81 for 16.04.2018, Roskomnadzor entered the IP address of the Russian version of NTP into its register of information forbidden for distribution.

    This “friendly fire” strike on a not just innocent but also an extremely necessary service was first discovered by the executive director of the Association of Internet Publishers, one of the experts of the Internet Protection Society (OZI), Vladimir Kharitonov, as reported in his Twitter:

    Sorry to bother you, but why is the RKN blocking the site http://ntp.org with the time network? Is there extremism?” – 10:00 AM – May 22, 2018

    We verified it. Indeed the IP address 89.175.20.7 is blocked:

    1badf5f9-4cab-4578-81fa-ae78b0920c68-768x659

    This IP-address belongs to the site ntp2.aas.ru:

    e23046f8-6929-4318-abed-80ceac3e36a7-768x415

    The IP addresses of the NTP services have fallen under this block in the context of Roskomnadzor’s struggle with Telegram. The first IP address blocks were recorded back in April of this year. Why Roskomnadzor and the Prosecutor General’s Office have gone to war against the exact time is not entirely clear.

    Reference: pool.ntp.org is a huge cluster of time servers, providing a reliable and easy-to-use NTP service for millions of customers. Currently, tens of millions of systems around the world use the pool. It is used by default in most Linux distributions and in many network devices.

    Translated from RosKomSvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/39061/

     
  • Earthling 12:16 am on May 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: defamatory information, inaccurate or defamatory information, malicious non-enforcement of a court decision to refute illegal, refusal to refute information in russian law, , Russian internet freedom,   

    Russia: The Duma proposes 2 years of prison for refusing to refute “defamatory information” 

    A draft law has been introduced in the Russian parliament, which provides for a criminal penalty for “malicious non-enforcement of a court decision to refute illegal, inaccurate or defamatory information”.

    Deputies of the Duma S.M. Boyarsky, D.F. Vyatkin, A.Gribov, and M.V. Emelianov submitted the bill to parliament, No. 468839-7 “On Amending Article 315 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation”. The document proposes to make a number of changes to the Code of Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation with regard to punishment for “failure to comply with the requirements of the executive document obligating to stop the dissemination of illegal information and/or to refute widespread defamatory and/or unreliable information.”

    “…an administrative sanction cannot always ensure proper enforcement of the provisions of the law,” the deputies state in an explanatory note to the bill. “Failure to enforce a court decision to stop the dissemination of illegal information or to refute the previously disseminated defamatory or unreliable information violates the basic constitutional guarantees for the individual — the state’s protection of the dignity of the person, his good name. Also, the constitutional requirement to disseminate information in a legal way is violated. On the other hand, not every offense can be recognized as a socially dangerous act. Criminal liability, as the most severe penalty, should be applied only in extreme cases, when it is impossible to take other legal measures to restore social justice and prevent the committing of new crimes.”

    “To ensure the above balance of the application of measures of responsibility,” deputies suggest using the mechanism of administrative prejudice “bringing to criminal responsibility is possible only if the measures of administrative coercion do not force the offender to stop the illegal act.”

    Authors of the draft law have proposed to introduce punishments of varying severity: from fines of up to 50 million rubles, or in the amount of the convict’s salary for a period of up to six months, or up to one year of imprisonment. As “intermediate” measures, they propose up to 240 hours of compulsory labor, or up to one year of correctional labor and up to three months of administrative detention.

    “Malicious failure by a representative of the government, civil servants, municipal employees, as well as employees of a state or municipal institution, or commercial or other organization, to enforce a final sentence of a court, a court decision or other judicial act, as well as obstruction of their execution,” according to the deputies, should be punished “with a fine of up to two hundred thousand rubles or in the amount of the wage or other income of the convicted person for a period of up to eighteen months, or with the deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to five years, or by compulsory work for a period of up to 480 hours, or by hard labor for a term not exceeding two years, or arrest for up to six months, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.”

    Recall that in April this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law No. 102-FZ, which allows court bailiffs to restrict access to Internet resources for refusing to remove information discrediting the honor and dignity of a citizen or the business reputation of a legal entity.

    The Duma, also in April, supported another bill of the deputy Boyarsky in the first reading — on strict regulation of social networks. The bill equates them with the organizers of information dissemination (ARI) and presumes rather serious sanctions in case of its non-fulfillment. The document imposes a number of duties on the owners of social networks, such as the creation of a representative office in the territory of the Russian Federation, the removal upon demand of inaccurate information as defined in the bill, the observance of relevant prohibitions and restrictions during elections or referendums, the establishment a program for counting users that Roskomnadzor will indicate, and so on.

    Translated from RoskomSvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/38984/

     
  • Earthling 10:32 pm on May 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Charges dropped, Dmitri Bogatov, Dmitry Bogatov, Russian internet freedom, , Tatiana Fyodorova, Victory for Freedom, Vlasislav Kuleshov   

    Russia: Dmitry Bogatov is officially free! 

    bogatov-is-free-yeah

    Charges against the Moscow mathematician have been officially dropped, after he was accused of calling for terrorism and attempting to organize mass disorder in the center of the capital.

    As his wife, biologist Tatiana Fyodorova, reported in her Telegram channel, “Dima is now officially free!!!” The Moscow mathematician and Tor node administrator received an official decree on the termination of his criminal prosecution.

    Later this information was confirmed by Dmitry himself. He also announced the receipt of a new agenda for May 25 for questioning at the Investigative Committee. Perhaps this concerns the case initiated against a resident of Stavropol, Vladislav Kuleshov, who became a new defendant in the course of Dmitry’s case.

    Bogatov was accused of trying to organize mass riots (Part 1 of Article 30, Part 1 of Article 212 of the Criminal Code) and publicly calling for terrorism (Part 2 of Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code). The criminal case was connected with posts on the forum SysAdmins.ru, posted by the user with the pseudonym “Airat Bashirov”.

    The mathematician himself explained that he had a Tor host at his home, with the help of which any person could publish messages from his IP address.

    In the spring of 2017, Bogatov was detained. He spent several months in jail, and was later transferred to house arrest. After the Ministry of Internal Affairs experts found no evidence of the mathematician’s involvement in the calls for terrorism or the attempted organization of mass riots, he was released with restrictions on his movement. One of the Moscow mathematician’s lawyers is the leading lawyer of RosKomSvoboda, Sarkis Darbinyan.

    In a Facebook group created as part of the campaign to liberate Bogatov, all those who supported Dmitry were thanked for their care and desire to help, as this really is a common victory!

    Translated from RosKomSvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/39050/

     
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