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New "Iron Curtain" for Russian Internet 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the search-no-evil-browse-no-evil-blog-no-evil dept.
Dionysius, God of Wine and Leaf, points out a story about the Russian government's interest in expanding anti-extremism laws to include the blocking of websites and ISPs. The laws would match those already in use for the country's print media. Russian internet users may soon be forced to deal with the same issues facing Chinese citizens. Quoting: "An official at the Russian prosecutor's general office, Vyacheslav Sizov, told the Russian-language newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta that any web site that is determined to host what he terms 'extremist material' would be blocked from being accessible from within the Russian Federation. Given the Putin government's history with the media, 'extremist material' may be very broadly interpreted as any content unfriendly to the interests of the Russian government."
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New "Iron Curtain" for Russian Internet

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  • Been done before (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phpmysqldev (1224624) on Friday April 25, 2008 @12:13AM (#23193984)
    This is quite a disturbing trend in so called 'industrialized' countries (although Russia's industrialized status could be questioned). The lack of outside information and abundance government propaganda is why N. Korea is so scary. Many of the people there that have no access to outside information actually whole heartedly believe what the government tells them, and why wouldn't they, it's all they've ever known. All it takes is one new generation to grow up behind these 'iron curtains' and the governments have effectively indoctrinated an entire country with the ideals of a select few.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blahplusplus (757119)
      "All it takes is one new generation to grow up behind these 'iron curtains' and the governments have effectively indoctrinated an entire country with the ideals of a select few."

      Sounds like America. Despite all the hoopla about freedom and whatnot in america, there is substantial indoctrination i.e. any mention of helping others gets you labelled a 'socialist' or a 'commie'. IMHO America is probably one of THE most indoctrinated societies in the world at the moment. You can't have a discussion about much
      • by phpmysqldev (1224624) on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:08AM (#23194254)

        Sounds like America. Despite all the hoopla about freedom and whatnot in america, there is substantial indoctrination i.e. any mention of helping others gets you labelled a 'socialist' or a 'commie'. IMHO America is probably one of THE most indoctrinated societies in the world at the moment. You can't have a discussion about much with a large percentage of people about certain topics.
        Agreed, but the difference is in America the information is available, most people just don't care to find it on their own. In the case of Russia, you more than likely have people that want outside information and now won't be able to get it.
        • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:49AM (#23194462) Journal
          Agreed, but the difference is in America the information is available, most people just don't care to find it on their own.

          The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population, but it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners [nytimes.com].

          I think if I lived in a place with that rate of imprisonment, I'd be keeping my head down and avoiding controversy too.

          • by Ramze (640788)
            It would be interesting to find out whether that's because the US has too many strict laws or broad reasons to incarcerate people or if other nations are simply lax on incarceration terms. Perhaps many countries simply execute their prisoners. I believe the UK has very short prison sentences due to prison overcrowding. Maybe the US can afford to build more jails than other countries. Maybe it has a better police force to catch more criminals. Maybe it doesn't have anywhere near the execution rate of o
            • Perhaps many countries simply execute their prisoners.

              Not really even in countries where executions are common, they still wouldnt acount for a significant amount of the convictions.

              It would be interesting to find out whether that's because the US has too many strict laws or broad reasons to incarcerate people or if other nations are simply lax on incarceration terms.

              Well the fact you can get sent to prison for tax evasion, pretty much proves that you have very broad incarceration terms, i think in the UK the rule is they have to be a flight risk or a danger to others to get locked up.

              I believe the UK has very short prison sentences due to prison overcrowding.

              Dont belive everything you read, while UK prisons are overcowded, peoples sentences are reduced by weeks, even for a 2 year sentence thats only going to be a c

              • i think in the UK the rule is they have to be a flight risk or a danger to others to get locked up.
                Jeffrey Archer, Lester Piggot...?
                • Yeah thats good point, I thought my always law student friend was wrong on that one.

                  The solution to jail overcrowding is simple though, legalise it. get rid of the money going into gangs (which mostly comes from 'soft drugs') but I digress.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by mrogers (85392)

            I think if I lived in a place with that rate of imprisonment, I'd be keeping my head down and avoiding controversy too.

            I agree that the rate of imprisonment in the US is disturbing, but with the exception of The War on Altered States of Consciousness the US doesn't tend to lock people up for crimes that could be interpreted as self-expression. As the NY Times article points out, the main reason for the high prison population in the US is harsh sentencing - people aren't being convicted for things that are

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            I don't believe we have good data on the number of people imprisoned in Russia and China.
          • or rather (Score:4, Interesting)

            by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 25, 2008 @09:04AM (#23196642) Homepage Journal
            go to some of those places with low prison populations, rampant crime and corruption, and ask some residents there what they think about the discrepancy. i don't think you fill find patriotic pride in their response. i think you will find that people living in places with low prison populations and huge corruption would love to see some more american style prison population levels
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by rtechie (244489) *

              i think you will find that people living in places with low prison populations and huge corruption would love to see some more american style prison population levels

              So you're saying people in these places want their corrupt officials to imprison them? Really?

              If you look at American prisons you'll find they're not filled with corrupt officials. It's mostly petty street criminals that are given excessively long sentences due to "3 strikes", mandatory minimums, and elimination of parole.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sydneyfong (410107)
          I think it goes both ways.

          If the people are aware of censorship, that's a vital piece of information, and if one wants information badly enough, (s)he will get it, especially with the technology in the last decade.

          However, if one simply believes that information given to him/her is free and unbiased, (s)he will never seek other perspectives and probably will dismiss any other views that conflicts with his/hers.

          This willful ignorance can be even more dangerous in some situations. For the person who's aware o
          • Re:Been done before (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Escogido (884359) on Friday April 25, 2008 @07:42AM (#23196066)

            However, if one simply believes that information given to him/her is free and unbiased, (s)he will never seek other perspectives and probably will dismiss any other views that conflicts with his/hers.
            It's actually even worse - as it is today, people here in Russia are happy to be spoon-fed. They have too much pride to acknowledge that a lot of the negative heard from the informational sources abroad actually makes sense. People will hear what they want to hear.

            Ironically enough, most western mass media plays along by creating an image of Russia that has little in common with what is actually happening here. Not saying the western mass media is to blame, but it's most certainly a factor.

            On a brighter note, it's not all that bad as it may seem. These tricks 'only' work with the generally badly educated population, and lack of a proverbial 'middle class' which is about the worst thing about today's Russia. If said middle class will develop and achieve a certain threshold, the process will become irreversible and no iron curtain policies will be sustainable.

            Let me restate: the way I understand it, having a sizable middle class is not compatible with any iron curtain policies whatsoever. And as a middle class is like a pre-requisite to be able to compete in today's globalized world, I hope these attempts at creating an informational shield are just convulsions of the old system where people would just blindly believe what their government tells them to.
        • by Burz (138833)
          TFA plays fast and loose with the term 'extremism' to play on people's fears about Russia. OTOH the US government defines extremism as resorting-to or advocating violence to further a cause; Sort of like terrorism but not necessarily aimed at civilians or even people (i.e. could be the pursuit of damaging property).

          In fact, I'd say the author is a Russophobe banging out another red meat article: In the last paragraph he goes beyond the original AFP article and paints the incitement of terrorism (incitement
      • by mi (197448)

        "All it takes is one new generation to grow up behind these 'iron curtains' ...

        Sounds like America.

        Please, confirm for the record, that it is your belief, one or more generations of Americans have grown up behind an 'iron curtain' unable to get information from an outside source.

        Thank you.

        • by FoolsGold (1139759) on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:39AM (#23194424)
          Ah, but what you fail to realize is that even if Americans are able to get outside info, a lot of them have no desire to DO so, hence they are effectively indoctrinated regardless of having access to this information. They either don't care, or wouldn't believe it in the first place.

          By being able to obtain the will of the people without having to close-off outside info, you've achieved much more than just simple censorship. It's much worse. It's willful ignorance, and THAT'S the scariest of all.
          • by jimicus (737525) on Friday April 25, 2008 @06:18AM (#23195656)

            Ah, but what you fail to realize is that even if Americans are able to get outside info, a lot of them have no desire to DO so, hence they are effectively indoctrinated regardless of having access to this information. They either don't care, or wouldn't believe it in the first place.

            By being able to obtain the will of the people without having to close-off outside info, you've achieved much more than just simple censorship. It's much worse. It's willful ignorance, and THAT'S the scariest of all.
            Trotsky, I believe, is credited with saying that any society is only three meals away from revolution.

            I think the converse is also true - provided a society as a whole is happy that it has the next three meals coming, it will continue in its own status quo and is safe from revolution. It follows that most people will not seek out challenge the status quo.

            I'll tell you which societies will change first - regardless of how indoctrinated they are. It'll be in those areas where peoples' wages barely cover buying food already. The worldwide increase in food costs will hit them first, and hardest. I wouldn't be too surprised to see another round of communist governments get in, subsidising staples like rice but letting everything else in the country go to hell.

            Interestingly, the list of countries affected will very likely include at least a few places where it's possible to get decent Internet access but wages are very low - just the kind of place that things get outsourced to. Hmmm.
            • I'll tell you which societies will change first - regardless of how indoctrinated they are. It'll be in those areas where peoples' wages barely cover buying food already. The worldwide increase in food costs will hit them first, and hardest. I wouldn't be too surprised to see another round of communist governments get in, subsidising staples like rice but letting everything else in the country go to hell.

              You say that like communism makes your country crumble, some of the rebuilding in Russia was fenominal, I mean they got damaged the most during both world wars, but managed to rebuild fairly quickly. After being in war on your own soil to be a super power competing with america that was barely effected is fairly impressive, in fact many historians believe that America stayed out of the war as long as they could so that Germany weaken Russia enough that it was no longer a threat.

              No the reason the USSR fell

        • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:51AM (#23194478) Homepage

          Conceptually, the strategy of having a vocal "mainstream media" that labels anyone outside of a narrow political range as a "crazy extremist" can be even more powerful as an indoctrination tool than an "iron curtain". In the USSR, everyone knew that the news was all government propaganda. In the USA today, most people believe in the "free press".

          • by denton420 (1235028) on Friday April 25, 2008 @02:37AM (#23194692)
            It is easy to tailor ones argument over issues as open ended as this one. If you have an end in mind, you can certainly reach it through a variety of logical routes such as the "free press" indoctrinating the masses. Of course the free press is going to do this. People do not watch the news to not believe it in ANY country. They take bits and pieces of it, some people take more than others.

            I strongly believe that while one can turn on the television and be disheartened by Faux news, the fact that information is out there that is readily available sets America apart from countries such as Russia and China. None of us can really relate to how life must be in a country such as N. Korea. Drawing parallels from these countries to America is a bit cynical, no? Is it not belittling the extreme censorship they endure?

            You cant expect the masses to get it, thats why they have their title as the masses. While one could argue that the masses control who gets elected, I think it is just as easy to argue that the masses do not know what they are getting in a representative.

            Long gone are the days where candidates actually take meaningful stances on issues. Even campaign promises can quickly be broken due to "unexpected" budget cuts.

            I believe our founding fathers were quite familiar with this idea, and hence decided that we should not govern our selves directly, since we clearly do not know what is best for us.

            Now whether the people making the decisions in America... that is a whole different nut to crack...
          • by sumdumass (711423)
            I don't think too many Americans actually believe that the press is free and unbiased or without an agenda. Most people seem to think they are biased and wroking against them. Ask a conservative and he will say it is liberally biased but when asking a liberal, they will claim the same publications are conservative shills.

            It is more likely that there are a lot of people that you are meeting in the US over the Internet or whatever, that simply don't have all the concerns that you do. They use the Internet as
            • I have more examples but I have showed my point quite well about the so called indoctrination of a countries citizens

              I don't see it. Hate to dive into these muddy areas but tell me how exactly has the right to bear arms actually had a noticeable effect on your politicians. Not in theory (i.e. if the government turns against us we can organize an armed revolution!), but in practice. Besides, when the theory of right to bear arms was devised, tanks were not yet invented, so having a gun means equipment-wise you're not too behind an average soldier. But these days, Fighter jets, tanks, missile bombs, etc... do you seriously

            • The same people who don't care that their right to keep and bear arms which is probably the best way to control their politicians has been taken for the most part.

              Say what?
              hmm arms vs amry, whos going to win?
              The idea that the right to bear arms defends you freedom is fairly flawed, i dont have time to go into all the details but think about this.
              If the majority of people voted in the goverment, then they are going to have more guns that you anyway.
              If guns could be used to protect your freedom, then how come they wernt used when alcohol & drugs was made illegal?
              If the government makes what you do illegal, doesn't that make your weapon illegal and therefore you lo

          • is it controlled by the government or is it not?

            that's some creative bullshit you got there that posits media wholly controlled by the government is somehow less harmful than one that clearly isn't

            a free press is a free press. you believe in some sort of vast government manipulation? are you paranoid schizophrenic?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by user317 (656027)

        Sounds like America. Despite all the hoopla about freedom and whatnot in america, there is substantial indoctrination i.e. any mention of helping others gets you labelled a 'socialist' or a 'commie'.

        just because Americans believe that no one should be forced to donate their money, doesn't mean that we don't donate ourselves. http://www.nptrust.org/philanthropy/philanthropy_stats.asp [nptrust.org]

        IMHO America is probably one of THE most indoctrinated societies in the world at the moment. You can't have a discussion about much with a large percentage of people about certain topics.

        What do you even mean by that? The topics that divide American politics, the ones that people care deeply about are discussed all the time. Abortion, gay rights, immigration, war on terror, torture just to name a few. Just because there is a large percentage of people who have a different view then you doesn't mean th

      • by Z80xxc! (1111479)
        What you say is true, however, keep in mind that (at least for the time being) we still have almost entirely unrestricted access to the internet. That's not to say we haven't been indoctrinated - I'd be the first to admit that, actually. However, fortunately, we still have access to the rest of the net, which allows us to get less biased information if we so choose to. And although it's true that one can't discuss a lot of things with a lot of people, nevertheless, we have discussions about sensitive topics
      • by Neoprofin (871029) <neoprofin AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:59AM (#23194520)
        If we're all so indoctrinated and there is no freedom why do I have to sift through so many overblown posts about the American media to find any posts actually discussing this new iron curtain?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hal_Porter (817932)

        Sounds like America. Despite all the hoopla about freedom and whatnot in america, there is substantial indoctrination i.e. any mention of helping others gets you labelled a 'socialist' or a 'commie'. IMHO America is probably one of THE most indoctrinated societies in the world at the moment. You can't have a discussion about much with a large percentage of people about certain topics.

        It's not at all like America. America has does not have state censorship - the constitution forbids it. Ok, I'm sure you can find a few corner cases where it has happened but compared to China or even Russia where the government directly decides the content of the only legal news sources and kills unofficial journalists it is non existent.

        Of course in the marketplace of ideas, you're allowed to try to sell anything no matter how quirky. But that does not mean that all ideas will sell equally well. Some ide

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sydneyfong (410107)

          Maybe you're the indoctrinated one, and you only believe in Socialism because you avoid reading anything that disagrees with your preconceptions. Certainly what I've read about planned economies and dictatorships of the proletariat makes me think they just end up making most people poor, unfree and unhappy while a spoiled, vicious elite wields absolute power. If someone seriously advocated them to me, I'd argue with them just like people argue with you.

          The GP doesn't seem to favor Socialism or Capitalism or whatever from his post. Why the digression anyway? Pointing out "self-indoctrination" that exists in many so called "free" countries doesn't mean that he wanted to avoid reading things he disagrees with. Quite the contrary I think.

          And incidentally the fact that you're able in America to read only progressive media that agrees with you while other people are free to watch only Fox news that agrees with them tells me that the government is not indoctrinating people, it's more that they indoctrinate themselves. Which is fair enough of course, they will all end up being wrong politically but in different ways.

          Exactly. But if everybody gets indoctrinated one way or the other, isn't that a problem? If that's not a problem, why is government indoctrination worse than "self-indoctrination"? If it is, why not try to tackle the proble

      • by rm999 (775449)
        "any mention of helping others gets you labelled a 'socialist' or a 'commie'."

        Wasn't it like that during the previous generation? And the generation before that?
      • by sumdumass (711423) on Friday April 25, 2008 @05:21AM (#23195414) Journal
        Wow.. Do you actually believe that? Maybe you were indoctrinated into the lack of perspective groups of people. It isn't if you want to help, it is when you want to take something from me against my will/wishes in order to do your good that gets you labeled as a commie and socialist. And quite frankly, that would by definition be communist/socialist.

        I know Bashing America at every change is fun and profitable, but you could at least get the story straight first. I mean with all the valid reasons to Bash America, you have to go and basically make something up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It is not mentioning helping others that gets you labeled a socialist. It is wanting to help others with someone else's money (taxes). I have yet to see someone who talked about using their own resources to help others get labeled a socialist.
        However, when you want to use my resources to help others, then I will call you a socialist. It is my decision how I use my resources (money, property, time). The fact is that those most opposed to using tax dollars to help others are the ones most likely to use their
      • does there happen to be any difference between

        1. some cromagnon neocons calling you names
        2. some cromagnon neocons closing down any media that differs from the party line?

        gee, i dunno, maybe a slight difference there?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dreamchaser (49529)
        I will be modded down as a troll no doubt, but I have maintained for many years that the real purpose of government run public schools in the US is to indoctrinate, not educate. I saw it beginning when I was young, and having now raised a child who will graduate from High School this year I have seen it get steadily worse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrbluze (1034940)

      All it takes is one new generation to grow up behind these 'iron curtains' and the governments have effectively indoctrinated an entire country with the ideals of a select few.
      All it takes is one generation to grow up exposed to the US media machine and we have a country effectively devoid of any of its original culture. The sword has two edges.
      • by Kattspya (994189)
        You say this like it's a bad thing.

        Also about 50% television programming and some music does not equal culture.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mrbluze (1034940)

          You say this like it's a bad thing.

          It depends on whether people value their culture or not.

          Also about 50% television programming and some music does not equal culture.

          I never said the original culture was replaced. Rather, a vacuum is left and we find country after country with a youth that has become hedonistic, shallow, selfish, consumerist and unhappy.

          But that's not a bad thing if you want to make money from those people. They make great customers.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)
      If you look around it is getting pretty damned scary everywhere. Between the mass media all being bought by a scant handful of mega corps that all spout the same "viewpoint", the feds wanting to monitor everything you do on the net, along with talk by the attorney general that "piracy equals terrorist supporters" and talk of the need for a new "more secure and trustworthy" Internet, it really wouldn't surprise me if in 2 decades or less we end up with our own "great firewall" to protect us from terrorists a
  • by kidsizedcoffin (1197209) on Friday April 25, 2008 @12:13AM (#23193986)
    The stories about Putin and his hot gymnast girlfriend got a paper's license revoked. I imagine the internet rules would be as even handed.
    • by kabocox (199019)
      The stories about Putin and his hot gymnast girlfriend got a paper's license revoked. I imagine the internet rules would be as even handed.

      I'd think most people would support a leader more with an eye candy girl along side him. Why would they want to hush up that news? Oh, well different country, different culture. They might actually have a sense of privacy in public person's lives over there. We don't have that concept around here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2008 @12:16AM (#23194000)
    Redundant meme censored.
    • or... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In soviet russia curtain irons YOU!...
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Friday April 25, 2008 @12:18AM (#23194018) Journal
    I think that it is time for the Internet (read anonymous) to start striking back at those world leaders that wish to silence information.

    Yes, I'm American and I think the Bush Administration is one of the likely targets of such an effort.

    We have the Internet, it is free, information flows around the globe. For all the faults that might bring it has been hailed as an equalizer and liberator of peoples all over the globe. Freedom of information is the basis of the good inside an OLPC.

    FTFA:

    Print (and television) media in Russia is already under either official or unofficial government control, leaving the Internet as the last frontier free of government scrutiny. "It is difficult to find anyone who is not against extremism but it depends on how the law is used," Center of Journalism in Extreme Situations director Oleg Panfilov told the AFP in response to the news. Panfilov noted that the government has used the law "selectively" in the past, but that it's still worrisome when the government tries to expand the law into new areas.
    Yes, we are all against extremism and extremists, but very few of us agree on what exactly those are. Such subjective terms should never be allowed to be enacted as laws. By allowed, I mean that free peoples should protest such laws, even if they are not in the country where it is enacted.

    In times past it was said that Monarchy's that do not hang together will 'hang' separately. I think that time has not changed this at all, and many of the so called republics are merely facades for the ruling classes to hide behind.

    Wow, that sounded a bit socialist or something, but I truly think that the Internet has the power to change things for the better. If the Russian people are unable to, perhaps we outside of Russia should make our voices known and heard.

    Does anyone have any ideas?
    • IMHO, one of the best way to use the democratic power of the internet would be to have internet communities buying stocks.

      A bit like the so called "ethic funds" who buy stocks in companies with good ethics first, then try to influence the companie's decision according to that agenda (which many entities do, only they do so with an "ethic" agenda in mind")

      As an optimistic person, I think that if the mass of internet users did that, they would be more powerful than the few rich people right now (that might ne
      • by aleph42 (1082389) *
        Just a precision:
        It can seem like that idea focuses only on western consumers (like influencing a software companie's choces or stuff like this), but when you look at the role of oil companies in affecting the stability of some african governments (including dictatorships), or the importance of economic embargo in diplomatic relations, you'll see it can be much more than that.
      • by zappepcs (820751)
        Thanks for that, it's a good idea... a great idea. Money always talks.

        I'm working with another person on brainstorming ways to push democratic 'public opinion' onto the politicians, and this fits in with that goal.

        Thanks again.
      • Greak idea, only one problem, were all lazy fucks.
        The same way that the Public are to lazy to make politicians acountable, people on the internet are too lazy too, to even convince friends which way to vote, why will they bother spending $300 unless it directly affects them? The most you could get out from internet users would be a group for net neutrality, and nobody can even be bothered with that.
    • by Shihar (153932) on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:23AM (#23194336)
      Yeah, I am pretty sure that a bunch of ornery 16 year old American kids are going to kick over the Russian political system to the cheers of the Russian people. Right.

      I have a better idea. How about we just realize that people need to sort their own shit out? The best you can possibly do is elect a government that realizes that it isn't going to beat another nation into submission with rhetoric. If the west wants to do anything for the poor huddled masses of all the oppressed people around the world, it should happily and merrily jump in to help fledgling democracies, reward leaders who bring about democratic change, make some vague attempt to hold a little moral high ground, and serve as example and rewarder.

      Tongue lashing Putin is a waste of breath. Words are worth their weight in gold. The best thing to do is give Russia a pat on the head, a hug, and a wad of cash when they do right, and wait for a less drunk and incompetent Yeltsin to appear to bring Russia back to something closer to a democracy.
      • by Pecisk (688001)

        I have a better idea. How about we just realize that people need to sort their own shit out?

        But that is whole problem. If Russia just sat down and tried to figure out how deal with all problems, then everyone would be clapping hands and handing Putin a price of peace. However, Russia thinks that their problem is not their imperial attitude, but everyone who doesn't submit to their power. For now, all neighborhood countries which doesn't fully corporate with Russia are subjects of extortion, fist swinging, threats of violence, threats of economical "violence", etc. In fact, they do almost EVERYT

        • And even then, when I do reality check, I CAN criticise Bush heavily and be not prisoned or silensed in US. Can't say that about Russia and Putin.

          I see this argument over and over again. The logic doesn't seem right but I really can't exactly pin point the problem. Anyway, two questions:

          * what does it matter if you could criticize your government if it doesn't amount to any real changes?
          * Suppose in an imaginary scenario, Russians gets free speech tomorrow. You criticize them for (eg) their imperial attitude. They respond by saying USA has the same issues too. Now, you say "so what? we can criticize our government for that!", but then they respond b

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ElBeano (570883)
        Stating the obvious: There is a lot of wisdom in the PP and it represents a measured and thougtful response to the policies of the U.S. these past seven years. We've given up the moral high ground by conducting a preemptive war in Iraq and handed a huge opportunity to Putin. If Putin is a monster, we have helped making him what he is. This does not erase his responsibility, nor does it let the Russian people off the hook. Nevertheless, the U.S. became intoxicated with the heady sense of being the world's lo
  • by Sonnung (1200123) on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:04AM (#23194238)
    Just a few days ago there was a story here about new Russian law requiring Wi-Fi registration. It turn out they would require registration of commercial and non-standard equipment. Earlier there was a story about creating an isolated Russian Internet. It turned out they just want to use Cyrillic letters in domain names. There were many stories like this before and each time they were twisted to cause cries about dictator Putin and slavish Russians. Are these posted by "message force multipliers"?
    • by temcat (873475)
      The WiFi story was bogus, and it was found out soon after it appeared at fontanka.ru. This one seems to be real.
    • Old news. As a Chinese I've seen enough "message force multipliers" (whatever that means) that I'd be surprised if I read a news article by western media which doesn't have them.

      Digression: when the Chinese "nationalist" bloggers say "the western media 'lies'", this is exactly what they mean. Sometimes when you dig deep enough into the story the facts are usually true, or somewhat true, but twisted beyond recognition to cause cries against the Chinese government.

      I'm pretty sure the multipliers were worse du
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kabocox (199019)
      There were many stories like this before and each time they were twisted to cause cries about dictator Putin and slavish Russians. Are these posted by "message force multipliers"?

      I think that we have to rail against Russia, China, North Korea, and Iraq with little actual knowledge of those countries. Those countries will "always" be our public villians or such even if they are more our allies than enemies.

      My 10 year old daughter has it in her head that she hates China. I ask her "why what did China ever do
  • by DrJimbo (594231) on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:33AM (#23194374)
    ... an iCurtain?

  • by soren100 (63191) on Friday April 25, 2008 @01:46AM (#23194446)
    The US and the European Union seem to be working hard to keep up.

    The EU just passed a resolution making it illegal to publish "terrorist propaganda" [arstechnica.com], even though the actual definitions are quite vague. That vagueness is incredibly broad:

    EU officials said the decision to punish propaganda, recruitment and training for terrorism through the internet filled an important gap in European legislation. [bbc.co.uk]
    America hasn't outlawed "terrorist propaganda" websites yet, but they are working hard to create the case that they need to -- they recently passed the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" [govtrack.us], in which our government finds that:

    " The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

        While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States."
    The US government has been so busy pumping the notion that the Internet is recruiting terrorists at home that they have even claimed that terrorists hang out in the online game Second Life [wired.com] where they engage in information warfare [washingtonpost.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pembo13 (770295)
      I don't think the US (not sure about Europe) even need such. Those who are interested in information and gather and disseminate it are often quickly labeled as conspiracy theorists. Most others simply don't care. (large generalizations here of course)
    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      One groups news is another's propaganda and vice versa.
      • by Burz (138833)

        One groups news is another's propaganda and vice versa.

        Indeed. It all depends on where the group's suspicions lie.

        As things are today in the US, the suspicions of the upper class are acted on as 'just cause' by default (usually against the poor), whereas the suspicions of the poor and middle class are energetically denounced as 'conspiracy theories' since they are known to originate from confirmed conspiracy theorists (just look at them-- outsiders). Its a signal that those suspicions are NOT to be investigated, irregardless of whether significant suspicious a

  • Given the Putin government's history with the media, 'extremist material' may be very broadly interpreted as any content unfriendly to the interests of the Russian government."
    And given the "Western" (read: American) media history with Putin government it may mean Fox News, that should've been blocked in US long ago if Americans valued their sanity.
  • Slashdot is turning into big political troll lately: Chinese are bad, Russians are bad, Europeans are bad... IMHO, adding politics to /. was a BAD idea in the first place. /me removes politics from Preferences (first edit of those evah).

    • Well Microsoft has been proven bad, SCO is bankrupt, Vista is released and sucks, BSD is already dead, 2007 was the year of Linux on the desktop, and in Soviet Union, you belong to a Beowulf cluster of bases and nobody cares.

      Nerd news is getting slow these days.
  • Dionysius is a web development firm. They're spamming Slashdot with submissions to get their name out. This sort of behavior is being rewarded?
  • I find it slightly interesting that we have the "Great Firewall of China" and a "Iron Curtain Of Russia"

    why not call 'em like we see 'em? This is censorship, pure and simple. by putting a "pretty" name on it, we take away some of the effect.
  • I have to go work on putting some subversive materials on the server. Maybe then their bots, crawlers, and spammers would leave me the hell alone. It would actually be a merciful relief to be free of them for a while. I probably would have been concerned about that sort of oppression a few years back, but at this point I'd have trouble summoning up enough energy to care.
  • by analog_line (465182) on Friday April 25, 2008 @09:55AM (#23197162)
    The Internet as it stands causes governments, regardless of party, left/right leaning, democratic, heriditary, authoritarian, fascist, or progressive, way more problems than it solves.

    1. It makes many laws nearly impossible to enforce on people in your country (the various laws in France banning Holocaust denial, globalised P2P in less RIAA/MPAA friendly countries).

    2. It makes it easier for corporations and other employers to provide services and product in your country while employing few if any of your citizens.

    3. It creates a tax-gathering nightmare for revenue officials.

    4. It provides free and open access for foreigners who are inclined to break your laws, and exploit and defraud your citizens. Commercially operated botnets and the total hijacking of e-mail for spam, protected with a wink and a nod by corrupt officials and organized crime sponsors are just the start.

    5. Foreign militaries, paramilitaries, intelligence agencies, and terrorist groups have a direct, hard to trace, and nearly impossible to stop communications line into your country, on top of a map to attack your critical network infrastructure (and physical infrastructure too, if you're like the US and are stupid enough to connect power plant control systems directly to the Internet).

    6. Critical Internet infrastructure, and new development is often at the whim of an unfriendly or hostile government. (though this government is generally the US in just about every case, with its control of ICANN)

    Again, this is governments. The people don't like a lot of the negatives too, and that means that in general they are going to be pleased if action to cut off "bad actors" from flooding their inboxes with spam, or stopping the US government from controlling the DNS system, or the Chinese military from attacking their country, or Russian hackers taking their entire country offline if they do something that Russia doesn't particularly like. The fact that it gives governments nothing but nightmares is eventually going to create a lot of little internets, with countrycountry access governed by treaty. The Wile West was tamed a long time ago, and the Internet will be as well, just like every other frontier. You've just got to create a new one.

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky

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