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Net Users In Belarus May Soon Have To Register 89

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 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.

  • 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...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:24AM (#30639168)

    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 retribution and much discussion will silenced as a result. Such a change may make repression easier, and will effect the course of Belarus's history: whether to go to war, how many people get "disappeared" and tortured to death, and many other substantial outcomes including potentially large scale life-and-death matters. I'm not saying that I know that the government of Belarus is this bad, but such things are not that unusual in the world. That's what this law could change.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus