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Net Users In Belarus May Soon Have To Register 89

Posted by timothy
from the not-just-register-their-displeasure dept.
Cwix writes "A new law proposed in Belarus would require all net users and online publications to register with the state: 'Belarus' authoritarian leader is promising to toughen regulation of the Internet and its users in an apparent effort to exert control over the last fully free medium in the former Soviet state. He told journalists that a new Internet bill, proposed Tuesday, would require the registration and identification of all online publications and of each Web user, including visitors to Internet cafes. Web service providers would have to report this information to police, courts, and special services.'"
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Net Users In Belarus May Soon Have To Register

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:08AM (#30638432)

    Apart from internet cafes, which are blanketed with CCTV cameras, all users in Western nations also need to register to use the internet. Registration is with a third party, but the government has access to all third party information, so effectively the same thing. This is simply "the east" catching up with "the west".

    People who felt the government shouldn't turn too big have largely been proved right when it comes to the area of surveillance - every Western nation will have total online oversight.

    • by Andorin (1624303) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:12AM (#30638446)

      Apart from internet cafes, which are blanketed with CCTV cameras, all users in Western nations also need to register to use the internet.

      No, you only have to register to have a connection at your house or business or whatever. There are lots of places where you can anonymously use open wifi networks- McDonald's has free wifi. Most public libraries have free wifi (although some might require you to log in with your library ID). Neighbors that don't secure their networks essentially give you free wifi. Those are just three examples and there are lots more.

      This proposed law is totally different; from my interpretation of TFA, it requires each individual citizen to have his or her own account through which they can access the Internet.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by paxcoder (1222556)

        Now that's just totally wrong. I hope it fails miserably and turns out to be a disgrace for whoever supported it, and I hope everyone sees that and learns from it (so that they never consider any similar idea again).

        • by symes (835608)

          Now that's just totally wrong

          I agree with the sentiment but not the "totally wrong" bit. I think having some means for people to prove who they are on-line could be quite useful - if you are a professional writer, artist, IT support guru, whatever... allowing your readers to idetify you across a variety of sites could be very useful. But a blanket ban on anonymity is niether healthy nor feasible.

          • by Daengbo (523424)

            Identity would be nice, but "opt-in" isn't the same as "required." South Korea has a similar system, requiring all websites with over 100.000 (IIRC) visitors to require registration with using the national ID number. This was in response to the suicide of an actress after some possible slander was aired anonymously in a forum.

            I was a little disappointed that SK took the low road, requiring identified posting instead of educating the average person that slander isn't a good reason to off yourself.

            • > requiring all websites with over 100.000 (IIRC) visitors to require registration with using the national ID number.

              I fail to see how this could possibly be effective. Valid national ID numbers can't be spoofed? Or is SK already at the point where breaking the ToS of a website is a heinous crime?

              Besides which, personally I think I'd merely partition my website into different segments and make sure that only 99,999 people were registered at each one, providing a "mix-em up views" top-level website which

              • by Daengbo (523424)

                > requiring all websites with over 100.000 (IIRC) visitors to require registration with [sic] using the national ID number.

                I fail to see how this could possibly be effective. Valid national ID numbers can't be spoofed? Or is SK already at the point where breaking the ToS of a website is a heinous crime?

                Identity theft is a major crime. The ID number hooks into the national database, which retrieves the user's personal information. Basically, as far as I understand it, there is no anonymity allowed.

                • > Basically, as far as I understand it, there is no anonymity allowed.

                  And that sounds like a good business opportunity for non-SK-citizen Korean speakers in the US to set up websites which do allow anonymity.

                  Too bad I don't speak Korean...

                • The ID number hooks into the national database

                  But does it hook into an international database? How can the Korean government look up personal information on national ID numbers from other countries, such as the Social Security number that U.S. companies like to misuse as a national ID number?

                  • by Daengbo (523424)

                    You can't post to Korean sites unless you're Korean. Even my alien registration card number wouldn't work. I know -- it's screwed up.

          • by paxcoder (1222556)

            Fosr identification, you can use OpenID, and PGP (electronic signing). You don't need to associate IP (or alike) with identity to confirm it - that would only compromise privacy.

        • by operagost (62405)
          It will probably take the wholesale slaughter of innocent human life (again) to end the latest turn of fascism. The horror will last about five years before we start the cycle over again.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Most public libraries have free wifi (although some might require you to log in with your library ID). Neighbors that don't secure their networks essentially give you free wifi.

        Not in Germany they don't. Over here, libraries are generally more interested in squeezing out money from people than they are in providing information and access to information, so if you want Internet access there, you'll have to pay. Oh, and of course, you'll have to use the library's own computers, you'll be restricted to the World Wide Web (no other Internet services for you!), and there'll be filtering software. Oh, and small kids will be shoulder-surfing all the time...

        Of course, there's also the fac

        • > using the Internet without SOMEONE knowing who you are ... is pretty much impossible in Germany.

          International proxy and/or VPN use is illegal? I think what you meant was: "anonymity is a bit more expensive in Germany".

          > where someone who "enables" you to do illegal things (not necessarily crimes) can be held
          > responsible for what you do if you can't be caught

          Sounds weird and not well-defined. If the bank robbers flee in a vehicle identified as a Volkswagen and don't get caught, can the bank sue V

      • There are lots of places where you can anonymously use open wifi networks- McDonald's has free wifi. Most public libraries have free wifi (although some might require you to log in with your library ID).

        Not for long. Free wifi providers have already been fined for users copyright infringements in Britain, so they will have to keep track of users to avoid that.

        In addition, I doubt that loophole in the monitoring rules will be allowed to continue for long

        Neighbors that don't secure their networks essentially give you free wifi.

        That will work in Belarus too, unless they ban wi-fi.

        • by tepples (727027)

          That will work in Belarus too, unless they ban wi-fi.

          Belarus could just ban open or WEP access points, with specific regulatory exceptions for limited-purpose devices too old to support WPA2.

      • by orasio (188021)

        While you are right, and you are not forced to register to use the Internet, the anonymous space is narrowing.
        It's not government restrictions, but market forces.
        Facebook knows who everybody is, and who their friends are.
        Mobile devices do identify themselves, and having a SIM, they _can_ confirm your identity, and mobile internet usage is increasing.
        Notebooks and netbooks are becoming more prevalent every day. It will be very easy to force a common ID once everybody buys their computer already built, just

        • by t0p (1154575)

          Mobile devices do identify themselves, and having a SIM, they _can_ confirm your identity, and mobile internet usage is increasing.

          At the moment, a SIM card does not confirm your identity (at least, not in the UK). It merely confirms the identity you chose to associate with that SIM card. There is no law requiring the production of identification when buying a pay-as-you-go mobile phone or SIM card - most mobile phone service providers ask for a name and address when you activate a pay-as-you-go SIM but you can supply false details quite easily. And SIM cards are so cheap, you can have a hundred anonynmous accounts for use with your

    • Apart from internet cafes, which are blanketed with CCTV cameras, all users in Western nations also need to register to use the internet. Registration is with a third party, but the government has access to all third party information, so effectively the same thing. This is simply "the east" catching up with "the west".

      So you're saying belorussian ISPs don't require registration? Or how is this "catching up"?

    • by reporter (666905) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:06AM (#30638648) Homepage
      The relationship between Belarus and Russia is similar to the relationship among the members of the European Union. The governments of the 2 nations occasionally talk about Belarus' becoming a province of Russia. Both governments have similar oppressive laws, and both nations are run, for all intents and purposes, by dictators.

      The imminent suppression of free speech on the Internet likely foreshadows the same sort of suppression in Russia.

      The gravity of the situation cannot be overstated. The Internet-capable folks in both countries are the only people who have access to uncensored news from the West. These people know the horrible state of their countries. Knowledge is power. Only these knowledgeable poeple can change both countries into liberal, Western democracies.

      If the government censors the Internet, then both nations will become Chinese-style states. We Westerners will not see any political improvements in both Belarus and Russia within our lifetimes.

      • by reporter (666905)
        In the immediately preceding article, the following statement
        The imminent suppression of free speech on the Internet likely foreshadows the same sort of suppression in Russia.

        should be updated to the following statement.

        The imminent suppression of free speech on the Internet in Belarus likely foreshadows the same sort of suppression in Russia.
      • by tftp (111690) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:45AM (#30638800) Homepage

        If the government censors the Internet, then both nations will become Chinese-style states.

        All nations drift toward Chinese style. The difference is only in speed. In the USA, for example, TSA demonstrated a few days ago who is the boss [wired.com]. You are posting on /. only at pleasure of the government, as it appears. You are perfectly safe, though, as long as you don't discuss certain topics of public interest.

        We Westerners will not see any political improvements in both Belarus and Russia within our lifetimes.

        People in Belarus and Russia will, however, see financial improvements in their life. That's what matters to them. They don't particularly care about random politicians coming out of the woodwork for a few years to rob the treasury, promote their pet projects and then be gone. Voting public usually wants stability, wealth, peace. Whoever provides that gets the vote. If the guy is good he is welcome to stick around and be responsible, in long term, for his policies. In the USA, for example, it seems to be a sport among Presidents to do as much harm as they can within their term and then run away from the wreck.

        • People in Belarus and Russia will, however, see financial improvements in their life. That's what matters to them.

          Upon what do you base this prediction? I have seen no evidence that the policies of the semi-authoritarian governments of either Belarus or Russia will lead to economic improvement for the average person in either country.
          The average citizen of a country will see financial improvements as their government increasingly functions according to rule of law rather than rule of edict. The government of Belarus appears from what I can see to function by rule of edict with no evident increase in rule of law. The g

          • by tftp (111690)

            Upon what do you base this prediction? I have seen no evidence that the policies of the semi-authoritarian governments of either Belarus or Russia will lead to economic improvement for the average person in either country.

            Such evidence is available [google.com] on the Internet.

            The average citizen of a country will see financial improvements as their government increasingly functions according to rule of law rather than rule of edict.

            Those two are merging. Look at the bailouts in the USA. Will you call TARP a law

            • The average citizen of a country will see financial improvements as their government increasingly functions according to rule of law rather than rule of edict.

              Those two are merging.

              No, they aren't "merging", the U.S. is moving in the direction of rule by edict, that is part of the reason the economy is so bad. It is why I have no confidence in any economic improvement in the near future.

        • People in Belarus and Russia will, however, see financial improvements in their life.

          There was a brief spike in economy in Russia in 2000-2006, but that is over now, and was caused mostly by advantageous external conditions, not some genius policy making from inside. At the moment, both countries are going down, with Belarus doing it faster.

          • by Delkster (820935)

            There was a brief spike in economy in Russia in 2000-2006, but that is over now, and was caused mostly by advantageous external conditions, not some genius policy making from inside.

            I don't think grandparent meant to suggest that the growth was due to policy. It might well be happening in spite of the policy rather than thanks to it, and most people still wouldn't see the difference or complain as long as the growth continues.

            If or when the growth stalls and external conditions no longer persist to create the illusion of good policy, people might notice and become less content, but it may already be too late by then. The powers that be in countries such as Belarus have already made goo

      • by t0p (1154575)
        I know the "democracy" in Russia is largely a farce. But I don't think it's as "closed" a society as you suggest. The internet is *not* the only way for Russians to get uncensored news. I agree that TV news and most newspapers provide an extremely biased version of the news. But there *are* independent news providers too. Yes, independent journalists often die in violent and mysterious circumstances, and independent papers are often closed down or otherwise discredited. But they continue to exist and
      • by aspelling (610672)

        You are absolutely right. Both countries have both ex-Commies at power (they call themselves differently now but they are all tainted by the membership in that party).
        Both countries are corrupt inside out. Instead of telling people the truth about what's going on their government try to find enemies outside (Ukraine, Georgia, US) and within (democrats) the country.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Weird, I'm living in a Western country (well, at least relative to Belarus; having it at my east border and all... :p ) and can easily buy in most newsstands, gas stations or supermarkets a prepaid SIM-card giving me data access. In many of those places I can also buy quite cheap phone giving me GPRS connection; and with temperatures we have today, nobody would even blink an eye at me being dressed in a way that effectively disguises me.

      You were saying?...

      • with temperatures we have today, nobody would even blink an eye at me being dressed in a way that effectively disguises me.

        That's what global warming is for. Making the climate like Florida throughout the developed world will make it less necessary to cover oneself. I'd bet even the copyright industry is in on it: Pastafarianism teaches that reducing piracy warms the earth ;-)

  • D'oh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andorin (1624303) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:08AM (#30638434)
    President Alexander Lukashenko is going a long way towards making identity theft even easier. Imagine how much simpler it would be to steal an identity with the existence of 'accounts' like this- especially as they aren't tied to specific addresses or machines, as TFA mentions that the requirements also apply to Internet cafes.

    I wonder how much Prez Luka would like it if someone posted on 4chan under his "Internet passport?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Thanshin (1188877)

      President Alexander Lukashenko is going a long way towards making identity theft even easier.

      The main reason I read Slashdot is for the instant reality check on news. It relieves me from the need to think; I read the news and right next to it I see the consequences those news will have on the real world.

      Slashdot transforms the need to find the dire consequences of all the events I don't like into the need to check which one of the "end of the world as we know it" scenarios is actually likely. /sarcasm?

      • by QuoteMstr (55051)

        I don't know why I bother reading the comments.

        Maybe it's the favorable ranking Slashdot has in my Firefox awesome bar. Maybe it's the arbitrary and Skinnereque reinforcement that comes from being modded up. Perhaps it's just a bad habit. Regardless, arguing here is like wrestling a fifth grader. Between the ultra-individual libertarian ideologues and the clueless teenagers (never mind the considerable overlap), it's hard to find anything challenging.

        As another poster mentioned a few weeks ago, Slashdot has

        • by EdIII (1114411) *

          wrestling a fifth grader

          Look, I am a bit ashamed to admit this, but last week I wrestled a 5th grader for a chocolate donut. It was not that easy.

        • New York Times? Fair? Hah! For a second I thought you were actually serious.
    • Sure, we're dealing here with totalitarian regime which likes to lock up people who are not in line...but at the same time it likes to have, formally, everything done properly during the proceedings. That means documentation of crime, evidence, etc. It might as well be fabricated, what's important is that it gives a bit more legitimacy to the whole circus.

      Such internet account is perfect for this.

    • It could very well be deliberate that they are making identity theft easier. Think of this scenario: political blogger U. B. Scammin posts something about how Pres. L is promoting bad stuff (oppression of free speech, unlawful arrests, whatever else he's done in the past, just pick something). He posts on a blog. Instead of just the standard arrest/torture/execution or whatever, Pres. L decided to get back at the person and ruin their life. He sends one of his agents to find Scammin's account number and the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It seems unthinkable that this could happen in western democracies, but it is only a matter of time. The freewheeling and uncontrolled nature of the net was a grand experiment, but it is not tolerable to political power structures because they do not control it or even quite understand it. It can also threaten them (see Iran).

    It's not politically feasible for most western governments to come out and take such steps directly, but it'll be rolled out slowly over time "for our own good", with each step along

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Andorin (1624303)

      The only way to fight this is for everyone to start using strong encryption for everything and protecting their anonymity even if it isn't always convenient, and even if they have nothing to hide.

      Also this [freenetproject.org].

      Seriously, this sort of thing is why Freenet was created.

    • It seems unthinkable that this could happen in western democracies, but it is only a matter of time.
      [...]
      It's not politically feasible for most western governments to come out and take such steps directly, but it'll be rolled out slowly over time "for our own good", with each step along the way being justifiable to protect us against something that everyone agrees is bad.

      It is close to happening in many countries. Demands of various parties that anonymous access or even anonymously posting on Usenet or webboards is to be abolished, are being met with increased approval. Everybody has their reason: fighting crime or terrorism, uncovering kiddie porn, finding people making anonymous threats on blogs, illegal sharing of media, etc.

      And what the voters who stupidly nod their heads at these suggestions do not realise is that the law already provides for measures to uncover s

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:18AM (#30638474)

    How many times will "Hubicha Kokov", "Miles O'Toole" and "Leck Depolski" turn up before the scumbag authorities notice something weird? Along with appropriate "catch me if you can" software, of course.

    • I assume a valid ID card will be required to register.

      • That doesn't necessarily help. It didn't really help the Irish police when they wrote out a fair lot of traffic tickets to the Pole who allegedly goes by the name of "Prawo Jazdy". What the non-polish speaking Irish policemen didn't know, "Prawo Jazdy" means "driving license" in Polish.

        It was even good enough for the Ig Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009 [wikipedia.org].

        • Maybe Belarus citizens could exploit a loophole intended for tourists if one exists. Otherwise I expect the ID card system to be pretty tightly administered.

  • I rejoice to see Belarus coming to sense and to follow the brave example from my country Italy.

    Instantly Belarus will become a culinary heart in the world, it will start producing magnificent sports cars and will have centuries worth of art stored in its churches. Surely it is for that reason they come up with such a law as I cannot see any other symptoms as to why Italy benefits from its laws.

    Belarus has something going for it and they already have a president that challenges the eternal wisdom of ou
    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Instantly Belarus will become a culinary heart in the world, it will start producing magnificent sports cars and will have centuries worth of art stored in its churches.

      Will they elect a mafioso?

      • by tftp (111690)

        Will they elect a mafioso?

        They already did:

        Lukashenko reacted by saying that anyone going to opposition protests would have their necks wrung "as one might a duck". (Link [wikipedia.org])

        This, however, does not prevent him from having a reasonably good popularity among citizens. As I said elsewhere, people look after their personal interests first, and Lukashenko is well aware of that. Opposition to his rule is largely "domestic opposition from a coalition of opposition groups supported by the United States and Europe

        • This, however, does not prevent him [Lukashenko] from having a reasonably good popularity among citizens.

          Silvio too is received pretty well in Italy. Hell the people elected him. The fact that he basically owns the media isn't unfortunate either.

          If you have a healthy distance -I left Italy a long time ago- you perception gets less biased by opportunism. Silvio's policies do not convince me. And neither Lukashenko's or Bush's do and did for that matter. I see a perverted kind of charisma in Silvio and Lukashenko. In that respect, George and the US people are a complete enigma to me.

    • Yeah, but they will eventually get a shot economy, corrupt and inapt leadership, erh... Ok, maybe it's the other way 'round, you need a shot economy and corrupt leadership to arrive here...

  • just like in Italy? (Score:3, Informative)

    by itsme1234 (199680) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:04AM (#30638644)

    Can somebody with more knowledge comment on what are the significant differences between Belarus and Italy? In Italy they are obliged to scan your ID when you want internet access and also they have to log many things and be sure to be able to correlate them with you. Free anonymous internet ("normal" open wifi) is forbidden as far as I know.

    As a side-note in Italy if you're a guest your host (at least the "organized" ones, like hotels and such) are obliged to take all your data and report you to some authority. I'm sure there are many countries with the same requirement but the first one that comes to mind is Cuba...

    • I'm not sure, but it looks to me that in Italy, you need a case to retrieve this data and correlate it through few layers (update on web -> ip address -> who was sitting there in Internet Caffe at this very moment). From what I understand about Belarus, they want to skip most of intermediate steps, so you will be able to link person with online publication without sending police with prosecution order to internet caffee.

      On top of that, you can do a lot of data mining- 'give me all people who posted on

    • by aspelling (610672)

      Silvio Berlusconi is not so much different: he is very power-hungry despot as Putin and Lukashenko

    • Can somebody with more knowledge comment on what are the significant differences between Belarus and Italy? In Italy they are obliged to scan your ID when you want internet access and also they have to log many things and be sure to be able to correlate them with you. Free anonymous internet ("normal" open wifi) is forbidden as far as I know.

      You mean, you can't just buy a pre-paid SIM card in Italy (without showing ID), and use it for e.g. 3G or at least GPRS Internet access?

      • by itsme1234 (199680)

        You mean, you can't just buy a pre-paid SIM card in Italy (without showing ID), and use it for e.g. 3G or at least GPRS Internet access?

        You can't buy a pre-paid SIM in Italy even WITH ID!!! You need (in theory at least) to register with the authorities and get first a "Codice Fiscale" and use that (plus probably ID, I'm not sure) to get a working SIM card. There are quite a few European countries with similar requirements (Germany, Switzerland, Spain since recently, etc).

        Combine this with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directive_2006/24/EC [wikipedia.org] and you'll get the 2010 version of 1984, "free world" version.

    • Well, the answer is easy: in Italia noodles are the staple food, while in Belarus, potatoes are the staple food.

  • ...and tomorrow it’s us.

    Those were my first thoughts. Pretty sad.

    But then I thought: And what would it change, to have all people of the country in yet another database? I mean they already have a list of their population, don’t they?

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But then I thought: And what would it change, to have all people of the country in yet another database? I mean they already have a list of their population, don’t they?

      Currently, a random person at an internet cafe might be able to anonymously post some negative news about the government with little practical likelihood of retribution, regardless of whether the government has accurate census data. After the legislation is implemented, such a user would have a much more realistic fear of serious retr

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by orasio (188021)

        In fact, about "dissapearances", Facebook is a lot worse than this kind of thing.
        People who were in danger in my country used to hide with acquaintances of acquaintances, making it hard for state intelligence to find them and kill them. Now that an easily accesible database links you to all you possible escapes, dissidence has turned a lot harder.

        • by orasio (188021)

          Well, reading myself again, it looks like I live in North Korea or something.
          I was talking about a South American country, we had a dictatorship in the seventies, mostly because it was the trend in the region, but that ended twenty five years ago.
          Our current political system is very democratic, at least in comparison with developed countries, but freedom has to be guarded always.

  • How come there's no 1984 tag here?

    • by tjstork (137384)

      How come there's no 1984 tag here?

      Because 1984 is obsolete and we're moving past it to something worse.

    • Because 1984 was obvious. It would even be obvious for people of today. And they would probably oppose it. In 1984, the oppression was obvious and it invaded everyone's private space.

      2010 (no, not the movie, the real deal) is more sophisticated. It's not your private space that's monitored. Why? Because it does not matter anyway. How does it matter what you think if you cannot coordinate with others? Alone you cannot change jack. And here's where the control sets in, when you try to coordinate. You may also

  • As we all know the fax destroyed the Soviet Union. The whole forbidden books were transmitted by fax.

    If the KGB with all its unlimited power and resources could not win over the fax, how could puny Belarus government hope to win over the Internet? This uneven struggle will exhaust the scarce resources they have without bringing anything in return.

    Will they spread the iron gauze over its cities to shield the satellites? Will they jam Wi-Fi along its 2500 km border with Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and

    • Ever heard of thermorectal cryptoanalysis?

    • I don't think they're afraid of "bad ideas" from the outside. I think the goal is to cripple attempts to coordinate and cooperate inside the country.

      Former Soviet countries tried to block the "bad influence" from the west and ignored the domestic multiplication once such material arrived in the country. That cannot work, as we've seen and as you have explained. The distribution is what they try to block. And that's much easier because not everyone has the "expertise" to circumvent it. If one person has acce

    • As we all know the fax destroyed the Soviet Union. The whole forbidden books were transmitted by fax.

      That's wishful thinking. It wasn't any kind of technology that brought USSR down. It was a long-running economic and political leadership crisis.

      • by tftp (111690)

        On top of that, fax had nothing to do with it. Forbidden books were duplicated on photocopiers. Fax, back then, would print on thermal paper, which is useless for books.

  • One is either for or against censorship. There is simply no in between. It is like pregnancy. You either are or are not pregnancy and just like pregnancy censorship gets bigger and bigger until you pop.

  • Well, "I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free...". I hope that this type of government communications rule does not spread to other countries. :(
  • I've read several of the posts so far and have noticed a few people relating how this is no different from Western countries, that there is a great similarity between them. I do not profess to be an expert of law in any country, but I did notice one difference with regards to current US law:

    With Belarus, you are automatically tracked. Once you do something, it's logged and [probably] viewed by the authorities. In the US there is a slight difference: in order for a law enforcement agency to observe the activ

  • .. should have named this the "Protect our children act".
    Way to go before he catches up with the West.
  • Belarus is the last USSR style communist state in Eastern Europe. The USA readers would probably better understand it as a European version of North Korea. The statue of Lenin still stands in front of their nation's capital building and there is a statue on a side street commemorating the site of the founding of the USSR's KGB.

    There is no private property in Belarus. Everything is owned by the state which is tightly controlled by President Lukashenko.

    But they do have free medical care for all its citizens.

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