Comments made by Artem Loginov to an article titled “Mobile operators will be the last to deal with Roskomnadzor”

31 October 2012
From October 25, 2012 Roskomnadzor (the Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications) and the major providers of Russia will work according to the provisional schedule, in the test mode and will limit access to any content prohibited in the territory of Russia. On the night of November 1, all Internet providers of Russia will be offered access to the primary register of prohibited web pages.

The federal law no. 149-FZ “On information, information technologies and information protection”, which many people in Russia describe as the law on black lists and censorship, will come into effect on November 1. By this date, website owners should delete any information which is contrary to this law, namely: materials with pornographic images of minors and (or) advertisements relating to employment of minors in entertainment events of pornographic nature; information on methods and technologies of development, manufacturing and use of addictive drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, sites of purchase of such drugs, substances and their precursors, methods and places of cultivation of psychedelic plants; information relating to methods of suicide, as well as solicitations to commit suicide.

Before entry into force of this law, and from October 25, 2012, web hosting companies will cooperate with the Roskomnadzor as the interim operator of the register of illegal information, according to the provisional schedule approved by delegates of Roskomnadzor.

The primary register of undesirable websites and web pages will be published on November 01, 00.00, and all the Russia based communications providers which offer Internet access to their subscribers will be obliged to download this register, and, should owners of sites fail to timely delete the prohibited information from their sites, communications providers will be obliged to block access to these resources. That said, in most cases providers will block access to sites not on selective basis (i.e. close a single page of a web portal), but based on the IP address, since not all operators are technologically prepared to single out illegal information and to block assess to this information alone.

“So far, MTS already began testing technical liaison with the register to prepare for November 01, 2012, when statutory requirements regarding restricted access to websites containing prohibited information come into effect. MTS has technical capacity necessary to limit access to websites sites containing prohibited information, so as to comply with the law on black lists. MTS has already installed DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) platform for mobile networks, which allows to trace illegal Internet resources and to block them. Prohibited information will be filtered out without slowing down Internet access for end users; at this time, we also do not consider any changes in pricing policy. That said, we’ll need additional investments in the technical systems update, and in development of information system of interaction with the register of prohibited web resources” said Valeria Kuzmenko, the press secretary of MTS.

Because art. 2 and 3 of the Federal law no. 139-FZ dated 28.07.2012 will come into effect from November 1, 2012, any access to the register cannot be granted prior to this date. However, as to working out engineering aspects of interaction between systems of mobile provider and the register, they are quoted in the provisional schedule posted on the register website. “Rostelecom” press service people believe that “Rostelecom” is prepared for the entry into force of this law.

Roskomnadzor also was willing to reassure mobile operators: a representative of Roskomnadzor told the “News” reporter that on November 1 owners of websites and pages will be first to get “notices” on lawbreaking, then it will be the turn hosting providers, while mobile operators will be the last to get these notices.

“We believe that we shall deal with operators only in cases of urgency, and most issues will be resolved without the necessity to refer to mobile operators” said Vladimir Pikov, the press secretary of director of Roskomnadzor.

However, it remains unclear, how they will block any information contravening the law which is presented in foreign languages.

“In my opinion, and according to “provisional schedule” dated 25.10.2012, the anti-access regime should be as follows: content provider and mobile providers will download (automatically or manually) the list of information resources with limited access, made by a competent agency. Then any user attempting to get access to resources on this list will be unable to connect to such resources, because access will be blocked at the level of provider or operator, based on template supplied by the regulatory authority. Proceeding from the above, the site/hosting provider/operator will block any information in a foreign language, as well as any content featuring a text or a video message, if this content is posted on resources contained in the said list. Otherwise, prohibited content in foreign languages will remain available to users”, believes Artem Loginov, a lawyer of S&K Vertical.

People in Roskomnadzor were unable to answer a question whether the illegal content in foreign languages will be blocked.

Viktor Loginov


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