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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 @04:19AM (#30638478)

    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 [].

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

  • by paxcoder ( 1222556 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:49AM (#30638586)

    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 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 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 []. 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:10AM (#30639114)

    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 fact that German law has this annoying thing called "Störerhaftung" 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. This is why nobody in their right mind would deliberately allow people to get onto an unsecured WLAN, for example; if someone did, and then did something illegal and couldn't be found, you'd be held responsible instead.

    Given that, I'd be surprised if McDonald's etc. will ever offer free no-login wireless, too. (Well, I haven't checked they don't already do, but given the legal aspects, I'd be surprised.)

    Anyhow, all in all - using the Internet without SOMEONE knowing who you are (and thus, indirectly, with the government being able to find out who you are) is pretty much impossible in Germany.

  • by orasio ( 188021 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @09:05AM (#30639674) Homepage

    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.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen