The State Duma of the Russian Federation will consider amendments to the laws “On Information”, “On Protection of Children”, “On Communication” and to the Code on Administrative Offences. These amendments should help to prevent of distribution of illegal content in Internet: it is supposed to create the register, which will contain domain names and uniform resource locators (URL) of web pages as well as IP addresses of sites on which is available prohibited in Russia information, for example, child pornography, materials that encourage children to commit suicide or materials that propagandize drugs.
However, there is number of issues, related to the legislative proposal. Some experts believe that blocking sites by IP addresses is very controversial technical decision. The filtering mechanism, which is proposed to apply to the information, is unclear; herewith mechanism should provide security of the children as well as shouldn’t infringe the freedom of speech.
Another argument against legislative proposal is that illegal content won’t be removed from Internet because such content could be hosted in different domain zones. Filtering by IP addresses means that hosting platform will be blocked, but not the particular user, which distributed the illegal content. There are many sites on one IP address, so blocking by IP addresses can make unavailable the significant part of the Runet, especially social networks and video hosting services.
Some experts consider that filtering sites by IP addresses is easier for the providers than filtering by URL, but in the first situation sites without illegal content will be blocked too. Blocking sites by URL is more difficult: providers will be needed to install the new equipment, which costs $ 50 million. But both decisions can’t solve the problem of illegal content, if they will be implemented only by providers. There is a need to introduce complex approach on the legislative level, which will establish legal responsibility for both producers of illegal content and hosting services.
Other position concerned with legislative proposal is that measures associated with register won’t be effective. More effective approach is deletion of the illegal content which will be realized by the hosting services or providers; blocking content by URL is preferable. Google and Yandex suggest revising of the legislative amendments. If amendments will be adopted in current variant, functioning of every Internet service will be slow. Filtering will have effect on the speed of downloading of the web pages. All it can have resulted in number of lawsuits concerned with blocking of Internet services, which doesn’t host illegal content.