Not that long ago Russian government usurped a new power of regulating Internet. There is no particular paragraph with a word Internet in Russian constitution, there is however a clause in the constitution that says that no ideology could be made mandatory by the government. However, nobody cares about constitution anyway, so the federal government simply legislated this authority for themselves out of thin air and the President immediately signed this crappy law the same day.
Initially this was spinned in press as a measure to fight those web-sites propagating extremism, drug use, child pornography and other nasty stuff. But as soon as government acquires a new authority they almost immediately turn of their evil creativity and identify numerous of ways to extend and apply it to other areas that were initially considered out of scope.
How this works. They identify some excuse to put a new regulation in effect. This could be some nasty thing they would like to fight. Like child porn or whatever of this sort. Those rare courageous people who try opposing this new legistation on a ground of freedom of speech are immediately tagged as “child porn advocates” or “latent perverts” or “drug cartel lobbysts”. Whatever. So they are getting silenced and discredited in the media. And right after this new law is passed, those who have passed it, immediately add a new rules that go far beyond fighting terrorism or child abuse or drugs.
The same thing has happened with new Internet regulations. First it was only up to a court to decide to shutdown access to a website. Now it is up to a discretion of Department of Justice (passed for sake of blocking sites quicker).
And here is an attempt to go even further.
A new bill has been introduced by Russian parliament to block any web-site that publishes incorrect information about financial condition of banks and other public companies. Read about this here (RUS).
So, you see a pattern. They started with child porn and suddenly switched gears to fight indesired information about finances. Unfortunately it is not that easy now to see people in conventional media saying “I’ve told you so, this is an overreach”. Remember this? They are all “drug cartel lobbysts”, and we don’t listen to them.
The next step might be to block any site that published any information about corruption in the government before court decides whether there was a crime or not.