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Belarus Bans Use of Foreign Websites 361

Posted by Soulskill
from the technological-island-nation dept.
bs0d3 writes "A new law in Belarus prohibits people from using 'foreign' websites. The law requires that all companies and individuals who are registered as entrepreneurs in Belarus use only domestic Internet domains for providing online services, conducting sales, or exchanging email messages. The tax authorities and the secret police are authorized to investigate violations."
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Belarus Bans Use of Foreign Websites

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:05PM (#38565592)

    Belarus is a dictatorship with a history of human rights abuse. All bets are off.

    • will be right over to liberate the Belaruse people.... right over....any time now... oh they only have trees....

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:30PM (#38565778)
      Once SOPA passes, and US companies start to offshore both domain names and hosting, how long before a law like this passes here? Don't say it could never happen. A lot of "nevers" have happened in the past few years. I never thought US Citizens could be dissapeared on US soil either.
      • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:51PM (#38565940)

        Criticisms of SOPA or anything else will fall on deaf ears when you lose all perspective and compare the US to a repressive dictatorship.

        • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:57PM (#38565996) Homepage

          As a non-American, the US is viewed as repressive, & we all assume the dictatorship bit will come soon (not that it's really needed). More & more the US is looking like 1920's Germany.

          • by Hatta (162192) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:13PM (#38566122) Journal

            As an American, I can assure you that you are absolutely correct.

            • by cold fjord (826450) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:58PM (#38566476)

              As an American, I can assure you that you are absolutely correct.

              Patriotism is bigotry.

              Little wonder.

            • by Mashiki (184564) <[mashiki] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:11PM (#38566544) Homepage

              The US is far from perfect, but saying that it's a dictatorship is far from the truth. Especially if you've never lived in one, or visited one, or even had family who escaped from one. At worst, you're using your statements to push an agenda. At best you're using hyperbole.

              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                I'm sure the German people were telling this to each other in the late 20s or early 30s too. You know, right before they did become a dictatorship.

              • by Reservoir Penguin (611789) on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:27PM (#38567666)
                I actually lived for some time in the US. My perspective is that US is no dictatorship but neither it is a modern democracy as defined by the standard set by modern Western European democracies. I find American political system quite peculiar.

                It is quite authoritarian at the federal level, between defacto one party rule (I refuse to consider R and D to be sufficiently different ideologically to be considered distinct parties, they are more like a liberal and conservative wings of the old CPSU) and absolutely mad lobbyism there is a real abyss between ordinary people and what is going on in DC. It's almost a total disconnect like in other authoritarian countries like Russia. It is very different in countries like Norway for instance.

                On the other hand below state level it's quite a lively democracy with real political competition and shifting balance of power. And the whole "legislation by court" is a rather unique American thing not present in other countries.
                • I agree with this and would add one more observation.

                  Americans confuse universal suffrage with democracy. They assume that because leaders are elected that it is a democracy. America has universal (well kinda sorta) suffrage but it is not a democracy.
                   

                  • No, the USA is a democracy, but it is not a Republic, it is a Federation. Some of the US states are Republics, some are a Rechtstaat and some are Free States. These are all different political concepts.
                    • Democracy is government by the people. America is not governed by the people to the extent necessary for it to be considered a democracy.

                      For example the majority of the most powerful and important government roles (Secretary of State, Treasurer, Secretary of Defence etc etc etc) are appointed - not elected. That is the opposite of democracy and is a situation that would never be tolerated in most of the world's actual democracies.

                      I restate, universal suffrage does not equal democracy.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by roman_mir (125474)

            On Decembe 31, 2011, Obama gave a black eye to the citizens of USA by signing NDAA with provisions that basically establish martial law and turn Obama into a dictator. [slashdot.org]

            It's only a matter of time before using a foreign website will be an offense that marks a US citizen as a terrorist.

            No foreign bank wants to deal with US citizens because of Patriot Act. When SOPA or something similar passes, foreigners will start avoiding online US clients and businesses.

            • by MrBandersnatch (544818) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:59PM (#38566484)

              I've been avoiding the US since the Patriot act passed - there is no way I want to visit, work-in or deal-with (business wise) people from a country where as a "foreigner" they can lock me up and throw away the key without due process or oversight.

              Dictatorship no......oppressive regime? 'Fraid so!

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by artor3 (1344997)

              You might want to mention that Obama fought against those provisions, and managed to weaken several key ones, and stated "My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens ... doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”

              The Republicans forced this through by attaching these totalitarian provisions to the NDAA (which is passed every year to set the budget for the Department of Defense). The Democrats tried thei

              • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:31PM (#38567102) Homepage Journal

                I don't see why you would fail to mention this, unless you were intentionally trying to mislead people about who exactly was behind these new laws.

                - maybe you should actually READ what I linked to, which is my journal entry? [slashdot.org]

                In fact I mentioned something, but it's the exact problem that I mentioned that you are displaying - being confused by the MSM, which are on purpose make it confusing for some people to understand that in FACT it was Obama who fought...... to EXCLUDE the provisions from the bill that would LIMIT the power against being applied to US citizens (not that these powers should be applied to ANY humans on the planet, but that train left the station back when the 'Patriot' Act was signed).

                Obama fought in order to ensure that the US citizens would in fact be included in the list of people that are targeted by this bill.

                You see, you got screwed by your MSM as I explained in my journal entry. Here is what you should know. [youtube.com]

                So, I expect some form of a retraction from you for your false accusations here.

                • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:30PM (#38567704)

                  Why would I read a journal entry with such a hyperbolic title as "The End of the Republic"?

                  But okay, let's go read it...

                  [The bill] ends the Democratic Republic of USA and installs a dictatorial power of the 'elected' POTUS.

                  Well, that's a flagrant lie, right off the bat. Perhaps you should look up the term "dictatorial"? Also, I like the scare quotes to suggest that Obama wasn't elected.

                  The MSM propaganda machine has been deployed to ensure that the population of USA (and probably of the world) does not understand that it was the President himself, who required that the current NDAA, which has provisions for 'indefinite detention' of 'suspected terrorists' by the military would also apply these powers against US citizens, which means that at this point the POTUS (any POTUS, Obama or anybody who comes after him), can capture and detain anybody in the world, including US citizens and hold them in military containment without a trial, without even possibility to contact any lawyers for any length of time.

                  That is one sentence. Try as I might, I can't parse it. It's an absolute train wreck of missing and misplaced commas and incomplete thoughts.

                  At this point it is clear that the powers that govern USA are making their last preparations before the USD collapses and ensures the survival of the elite with this dictatorial nonsense and basically establishment of the martial law.

                  Uh-huh. Right. The big bad THEY all know that the country is about to collapse, and are thus laying the legal groundwork for the following chaos. Because if the country does collapse, a few words on paper are going to make a difference.

                  Say hello now to the Fourth Reich

                  And there's the Godwin, a great note to end on.

                  You are paranoid and delusional. Scream about ad hominems all you like, the fact is you come across as no more trustworthy than the homeless crazy guy a few blocks from my apartment. Come back with sources, or don't come back at all. Better still, seek help from a professional before you hurt yourself or others.

          • by g0bshiTe (596213)
            I'd say it's looking more Orwellian for sure. 1920's Germany though is a stretch, I mean you don't really see masses of people rallying behind the government. Hopefully there's alot of my countrymen that feel as I do, and thinks the government needs a gut check.
          • by artor3 (1344997)

            Way to speak for billions of people. Clearly all non-Americans are one big hivemind. As an American, I was unaware of that. Thanks for your insight!

          • by bfandreas (603438)
            As a non-American I can assure you that the US has had darker moments throughout its history and has reinvented itsself quite often. As a nation it is like all nations neither good nor evil. It is true that it currently is in a rough shape, but so is the whole western world. But we've seen worse.
            Idiocracy may seem to be prophetic, but unfortunately it is quite universal, too.
            SOPA doesn't even remotely compare to what is going on in Belarus. The comparision denigrates those who are disappeared at night, a
        • Apparently Belarus is a presidential republic [wikipedia.org], just like USA
        • Most dictatorships start out looking good to the people. Hitler was seen as a hero. Castro was a man of the people. Dictatorships and fascism sneak up while people like you are pointing to straw men.
      • by hitmark (640295)

        Are you sure it never happened before Patriot?

      • by g0bshiTe (596213)
        US Citizens could always have been disappeared on US soil and have.
      • We're a democracy! That means that the vast majority of the people agree that the internet as we know it should be destroyed, because the RIAA and MPAA aren't making enough money! Because of piracy! Likewise, we've decided that suspending miranda rights and indefinite detention without a trial or chance to confront your accusers is A-OK! I know that China is rubbing their hands gleefully because they think they can point at us as an example of moral rightness and claim they're just following our example. B
    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:35PM (#38565818)

      Belarus is a dictatorship with a history of human rights abuse.

      Well, you certainly don't minsk words.

  • Thank you, Belarus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:07PM (#38565606) Homepage Journal
    Thank you for providing us anti-SOPA people with a rhetorical example of an internet rights disaster that is less politically sensitive than China. (Also, it may be time for another revolution.)
  • SOPA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:08PM (#38565616) Homepage

    This is different from post SOPA USA how?

    • Re:SOPA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by impaledsunset (1337701) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:45PM (#38565884)

      SOPA is a tool. If it corresponds to something in Belarus, it's the dictatorship itself.

      The ban on foreign websites as described is just a use of that tool and, yes, an example of how SOPA might be used.

      The possibilities that it opens are frightening, but it's not as bad as what's going on in Belarus already. And the Great Firewall of China might be a better example of how SOPA might be actually used.

  • by Coldmoon (1010039) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {nedewswm}> on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:09PM (#38565626)
    This will do nothing more than work to isolate the Belorussians and stifle their growth going forward. Shortsightedness leading to stagnation in the name of security...
    • Like the people in power give damn. Look at North Korea.
    • by Gerzel (240421)

      Their growth forward most likely means a move to post-dictatorship. If you are the dictator or on his side this is a bad thing.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:11PM (#38565632)

    Sound like a country determined to be poor.

  • Dumbshits. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:11PM (#38565634) Journal
    If you live in that country you may as well just stop using the internet completely then, since it's effectively not the internet anymore, just an extremely small walled garden. Anyone want to take bets on exactly how many weeks this continues before they rescind it? A move like this couldn't be good for any country's economy.
    • Do not worry. All violations of the law deemed convenient to the national economic interest, or carried out by suitably favored people, will simply be ignored for the sake of practical efficiency.

      Next time unlucky activist visits foreign NGO website? Visit from secret police...
    • by gman003 (1693318)

      just an extremely small walled garden.

      More like an extremely large LAN with the most restrictive firewalls possible ("deny * from *" is a firewall, right?

    • Re:Dumbshits. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:45PM (#38565888) Journal

      You assume Lukashenko cares about something other than his own personal fortune and control over his country. This is not the case.

    • by tgd (2822)

      If you live in that country you may as well just stop using the internet completely then, since it's effectively not the internet anymore, just an extremely small walled garden. Anyone want to take bets on exactly how many weeks this continues before they rescind it? A move like this couldn't be good for any country's economy.

      Maybe I misread it, but it sounded to me like Belarus companies have to use Belarus domains -- you can't run a site on ilovebelarus.com if you're a Belarus company, but a Belarus citizen can use any non-Belarus sites they want on any URL they want.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Pax681 (1002592)

      If you live in that country you may as well just stop using the internet completely then, since it's effectively not the internet anymore, just an extremely small walled garden. .

      apple fans will LOVE it! :P

  • Alexander Lukashenko (Score:5, Informative)

    by sirdude (578412) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:27PM (#38565754)

    For those who are unaware, Belarus is ruled by a turd named Alexander Lukashenko [wikipedia.org]. He's been their president since 1994 and initially increased presidential term limits from the standard five years to seven and later removed presidential term limits altogether.

    Some of his memorable moments include:

    1. He warned that anyone joining an opposition protest would be treated as a "terrorist", adding: "We will wring their necks, as one might a duck".
    2. Addressing the "miserable state of the city of Babruysk" on a live broadcast on state radio he stated: "This is a Jewish city, and the Jews are not concerned for the place they live in. They have turned Babruysk into a pigsty. Look at Israel—I was there and saw it myself ... I call on Jews who have money to come back to Babruysk."
    3. "My position and the state will never allow me to become a dictator, but an authoritarian style of rule is characteristic of me, and I have always admitted it. You need to control the country, and the main thing is not to ruin people's lives."

    ... and so on [wikiquote.org].

    In other words, such stories while shocking are, IMO, hardly surprising ...

    • by bfandreas (603438)
      He is the last dictator on the European continent and one of the most despicable persons ever treading into a dog turd. If he died today the reaction wouldn't be as polite as with the death of Kim Jong Il. If he were on fire he would be doused by being wanked upon by any passer-by. I actually think of his mustache burning up in a kerosene propelled fire as sexually arousing.
      The really intersting thing here is(hence the dog turd reference) that lukasenkos is actually the ancient Greek name for the shade of
  • Imagine this were the USA and Western Europe situation: there is no www.google.com, yro.slashdot.org, www.facebook.com, or similar. Everything you do in in the *.cn domain, with IP addresses assigned by the Chinese, and physically located in China. Would that be a good situation for the USA or Western Europe?

    It's no different for Belarus.

    (bummer, because I **like** the USA having more control over Belarus)

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:42PM (#38565878) Homepage

    We're Number Two! We're Number Two!

    Yeah, Baby! We are now only the second stupidest country on the planet regarding writing Internet laws that completely misunderstand how the Internet works. Thanks Belarus! You've shown that our politicians are not quite the most ignorant twits in positions of power on Earth!

    • Don't be so loud, our politicians might take that as a challenge and try to retake first place
      • by PPH (736903)
        Too late. The clown car that is the GOP candidacy already considers that gauntlet to have been thrown down.
  • I actually like this, which is weird, because I wouldn't have thought so. But it makes sense that in order to benefit from all of the various business-related incentives that your country may provide, including your business licence in the first place, that you continue to spend your money domestically.

    I run a business in Canada, and I use Rackspace out of the U.S.A.. I've very happy with Rackspace, as anyone should be, they are indeed fantastic in every way. But I feel guilty for not remaining in Canada

    • by macraig (621737)

      You actually think this is intended to legitimize national incentive programs? You apparently live in a cloud yourself.

      This is about CONTROL, and not in a good way. If the domain and physical servers are IN Belarus, then the government can monitor, tap, censor, and otherwise control everything that resides on or passes through them. I expect the proximate goal is to stop dissidents from using the Internet to communicate, collaborate, and organize.

      • sure, there it is, you're right. But this law in Canada would work quite differently. it actually would be to support incentives. quite frankly, it wouldn't be a law so much as an incentive program.

        • by macraig (621737)

          This is Alexander Lukashenko we're talking about here... of course I'm right! And an incentive program designed to encourage localized network economic investment is a LOT different from what this law is going to do.

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