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Wireless Networking Censorship Networking The Internet

Russian Officials Consider Ban On Wi-Fi Use For Kids 110

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-still-be-young-at-heart dept.
dsinc writes that Russia's "Communications and Press Ministry has proposed banning children from using Wi-Fi networks in public, potentially making cafes, restaurants and other locations providing the service responsible for enforcing the law. An official with the ministry's Federal Mass Media Inspection Service, known as Roskomnadzor, said the ban should apply to people under 18 years old. Locations providing Wi-Fi access would be held legally responsible for implementing the rule, and failing to meet the proposed measure would result in a fine ranging from 20,000 rubles to 50,000 rubles ($640 to $1,600), Vedomosti reported Thursday." The law, ostensibly to "shield" children, would apply to a fairly broad definition of child — anyone under 18.
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Russian Officials Consider Ban On Wi-Fi Use For Kids

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  • What's the fear? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BobPaul (710574) * on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:08PM (#41598063) Journal

    Is he afraid of kids getting access to porn or is he afraid of kids becoming politically active and starting a "Russian Spring" or sorts?

    • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:13PM (#41598099) Homepage Journal
      Why can't it be both? You have your moral hysteria to appeal to the social conservatives, and the totalitarianism to appeal to the ranking government officials, it's a win-win.

      I expect this law to be enforced in current Russian fashion: not at all unless it is to harass your political or social rivals.
      • It's neither. Putin is rebuilding the corrupt system where getting ahead means not building business but joining the government so you can get in the way and demand kickbacks. You need an army of subordinate colleagues-in-crime to keep this up longer-term. As a bonus, if any get out of line, well, they, too, are already violating law and can be disappeared at will.

        failing to meet the proposed measure would result in a fine ranging from 20,000 rubles to 50,000 rubles ($640 to $1,600)

        ...unless certain arr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)

      There doesn't have to be an actual risk to children. You just have to declare that you're doing something to protect children, and accompany it with a suitably jingoistic propaganda campaign. This is how "The Land of The Free"(TM), has managed over 75 years of cannabis prohibition, despite it being one of the safest drugs on Earth. A war on wifi would be no more absurd or unjust.

      • by dwye (1127395)

        Cannabis is banned for 22 year olds as well as children, so your example is not of "risks to children" but of risks to society. You might have better used the ban on alcohol purchase and/or consumption for under-21, or making the age of consent ridiculously high (18 in California, when the average age of loss of virginity was below 16).

        Learn to argue the point, not your favorite hobby-horse, or you will be confused with lowlife scum like child molesters (e.g., NAMBLA) or politicians.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Considering the sheer amount of russian preteens and young teenagers on video chat-networks and sites like V-kontakte i do not think blocking them from public WiFi will change anything. Those young ones who actually have their own computer in all cases also have broadband at home. And webcams.

    • None of the above. If the cynic in me is right, it's actually worse than you think.

      The proposed law would follow the heels of a more recent law that will be active on November 1st that blacklists web sites for the alleged purpose of "child welfare". Most of the businesses giving free wifi hotspots have already stated that they will use the government blacklist to filter the internet for kids (for all their patrons, not just kids), as a way to avoid checking their patron' ids and having to give each and ever

  • How exactly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:11PM (#41598085)

    How in hell do you tell the age of someone connecting to your network?

    • Easy - don't have a network.
      • Well, the way I read the article (not really!), this is the REAL Goal of the law. They know they aren't protecting kids from the "BIG SCARY INTERNET", they are using the "do it for the kids" mantra to enforce their tyranny. In fact, just about anytime someone says "do it for the ________" it is to limit freedom and build tyranny of the Nanny State

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You make people come up to someone that works there and ask for the password and then checking ID.
      OR use the internet way and just make a login screen that asks if you are 18 (proceed) or not (get of my wifi !).

      • by Talderas (1212466)

        And periodically change the Wi-Fi keys so that kiddos can have their 18yo buddies get them the key.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        Depends on if it's worded as to disallow Internet over wifi or just wifi altogether. Just presenting the login screen to a minor would be illegal under the latter wording.

    • by Zocalo (252965) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:25PM (#41598265) Homepage
      By counting the number of times terms like "OMG" and "LOL" appear per sentence?
    • You're not supposed to. The purpose is to give local officials a way to walk in and demand kickbacks.

      Politics is much easier with the parsimonious theory that almost all laws are to demand bribes to get back out of the way. It has astounding explanatory and predictive power.

      Even in the US, it is largely about demanding legal bribes, AKA donations, or you get punished as a business. Often it's also to teach other business to fear things coming down the pike.

      When you slobber and drool and cheer at the rall

    • by chrismcb (983081)
      I don't know... Perhaps the same way you ascertain the age of someone who is buying beer?
      You'll obviously have to lock down the network, and provide passwords.
  • Oblig? (Score:5, Funny)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:14PM (#41598115)

    In Soviet Russia, Wifi is spelled W-Ifi!

    To better represent the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie.

  • by melikamp (631205) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:16PM (#41598145) Homepage Journal
    This is being proposed in a country where minors can buy alcohol virtually anywhere.
    • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:30PM (#41598325)

      Alcohol in is counter-revolutionary. Internet access is just the opposite.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      I know, right? Sanity for alcohol laws, but not for Internet access? WTF...

      More seriously, what's the harm? Just like anything else pleasurable, people can become addicted to it, and it causes severe problems when used excessively. Keeping it away from kids doesn't do anything to change those facts, but it does add a mystique of forbidden fruit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Desler (1608317)

        The harm is the same as why the Chinese government censors the Internet. They can get access to "bad" information.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:17PM (#41598151)

    Now those kids are on my Wi-Fi . . .

    "Get off my Wi-Fi!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Now those kids are on my Wi-Fi . . .

      "Get off my Wi-Fi!"

      Get off my WLAN!

    • Not to joke but this was my first thought- if you have open wi-fi out of your home would you be at risk for criminal charges?
  • W-iFi it's iffy for kids.
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:30PM (#41598329) Homepage Journal

    Pissing off the youth is always a good idea for a career politician. They never remember stuff like this when they are old enough to vote.

    • assuming it matters. If they don't have appropriate choices of candidates to vote for then it's a moot point
    • They never remember stuff like this when they are old enough to vote.

      Correct. Most of them are not even paying attention now.

      What happened to all those free-love anti-war hippies from the 60s in the USA? They were a small minority then, and a small ignored voting block now.

      Politicians do not need to worry about the vocal youth, the other 95% of the youth will grow up to be boring old citizens who will toe the line.

    • by alexo (9335)

      The actual votes do not matter when you can just declare you've won by any margin you feel like at the time.

  • The law, ostensibly to "shield" children, would apply to a fairly broad definition of child — anyone under 18

    Since broads call everyone "baby!", it affects everyone.

  • The proper solution would be to the parents to control their youngsters' computer usage. After all you can get online with 3G anyway.
  • by takiysobi (2542620) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:38PM (#41598439)
    In reality this law will create just another bribery channel for government officials. In Russia, various government agencies, including fire department, fishing, environmental, whatever regulating/monitoring bodies can close businesses for the slightest violation of infinite borderline idiotic regulations. For example, _every_ vehicle was supposed to have first aid kit and functioning fire extinguisher. Not sure if it's the case anymore, but I would not be surprised if in addition to that you need 50 meters climbing rope and gas mask, just in case. This is just one more way to facilitate bribery across the wider spectra.
  • I don't really think referring to everyone under 18 as children is as wonky as the apparently-under-18 submitter thinks it is.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      That was actually just timothy's inserted commentary. The "editors" wrongfully think they are insightful.

    • Yeah. The fairy comes on your 18th birthday and you magically have common sense.

      Except where I live, where apparently we have anti-fairy guns to protect the adults from the common sense fairies.

    • by chrismcb (983081)
      Its not like there is no where else that defines a "child" as someone under the age of 18.
  • by scorp1us (235526) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:40PM (#41598465) Journal

    Blocking internet access to impressionable youth cuts both ways, but it cuts harder against Western influence.

  • by fluor2 (242824) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @02:18PM (#41598875)

    To be sure that one does not offer Wi-Fi for kids, the only solution is to require authentication with a real name or similar. Else, the government can arrest you because you cannot prove that a kid did not use your network.

    A very smart move to hide the real reason; more control.

  • This is a _fine_ example of distraction-crafted legislation -- laws appearing to do one thing, but actually doing something quite different (and potentially protestable).

    The "save the kids" is simply a total ban on open WiFi (since kids could connect) _plus_ potential for a network responsibility presumption. Of course the various Russian govt security agencies are in favor, plus a certain number of Russian corps (esp mobile telecoms).

    The Russian people suffer as they have for centuries, under the insecuri

  • If there are indeed detrimental health effect caused by WiFi (and this issue pops up occasionally when schools go wireless) then people would be affected regardless of whether or not they are actually USING the WiFi or not. Would exposure be any different for a child sitting in a table at Starbucks not using a computer than someone who is? If I understand correctly, it's the wireless access points (WAPs) that emit most of the RF energy. I suppose if your computer was sitting in your lap, then maybe the s

    • by Desler (1608317)

      What the hell are you talking about?

      Ksenzov said the proposal is tied to the Internet restriction law that comes into effect Nov. 1, allowing the government to block Web pages that fit the law’s definition of material harmful to child welfare.

    • by Stoutlimb (143245)

      I'm sure the people who crafted the law fully understand that there is no way the law makes sense to anyone who isn't interested in randomly punishing people for dumb laws for fun and profit. In Russia, human rights abuse is quite the sport. Everyone is a criminal, and the people who have power love it that way.

    • The issue isn't that wifi is dangerous to the kiddliewinks, it's that they might get on the internet and see all the naughty bits. Because of course, there's nowhere they can get online other than by wifi.

  • by PPH (736903)

    ... how do I put my kid in 'airplane mode'?

    [Kid begins kicking back of seat] Aha! Got it!

  • Most people use the word "infant" to refer to a baby from newborn to a few months old. Under law, however, anyone under the age of majority (18 for most purposes) is technically an "infant". I was involved in a chain collision during a traffic jam years ago, and my wife was horrified when the insurance legal papers referred to an "infant" in one of the cars; the teenager in question was 16 at the time (and taller than I was). The use of "infant" rather than "minor" or "teenager" was precisely to evoke th

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