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The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (russian: Федеральная служба по надзору в сфере связи, информационных технологий и массовых коммуникаций) or ''Roskomnadzor'' (russian: Роскомнадзор) is the Russian federal executive body responsible for compliance with the law in media and telecommunications. Its areas include electronic media, mass communications, information technology and telecommunications; overseeing compliance with the law protecting the confidentiality of personal data being processed; and organizing the work of the radio-frequency service.

History

This Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications was re-established in May 2008. Resolution number 419, "On Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications", was adopted on February 6, 2008. In March 2007 the authority—then a subdivision of the Cultural Ministry of Russia called ''Russian Federal Surveillance Service for Compliance with the Legislation in Mass Media and Cultural Heritage Protection'' (''Rosokhrankultura'')—warned the ''Kommersant'' newspaper that it shouldn't mention National Bolshevik Party on its pages, as the party had been denied official registration. In 2019 media criticized the service's choice of experts who are performing analysis of referred publications to assess their compliance with regulations. A number of experts recruited by Roscomnadzor are associated with pseudo-scientific and sectarian movements, including HIV-deniers, ultra-conservative, anti-vaccination and alternative "medicine" activists. Three of such experts—Anna Volkova, Tatyana Simonova and Elena Shabalina—assessed lyrics of popular rapper Egor Kreed in which they found "mutagenic effect", "satanic influence" and "psychological warfare". Also in 2019 Roscomnadzor published the first iteration of the "list of information resources who had in the past been spreading unreliable information" including a number of social media groups and media websites accused mostly of incorrectly reporting on a single incident in Dzerzhinsk in June 2019. After the nationwide January 2021 street protests, the agency fined seven social media companies for not removing pro-Navalny videos. “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and YouTube will be fined for non-compliance with requirements to prevent the dissemination of calls to minors to participate in unauthorized rallies,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement published on its website.

Service tasks

''Roskomnadzor'' is a federal executive body responsible for control, censorship, and supervision in the field of media, including electronic media and mass communications, information technology and communications functions control and supervision over the compliance of personal data processing requirements of the legislation of the Russian Federation in the field of personal data, and the role of co-ordinating the activities of radio frequency service. It's an authorized federal executive body for the protection of human subjects of personal data. It is also the body administering Russian Internet censorship filters. It also designs and implements procedures of Russian Autonomous Internet Subnetwork, like inventory of Russian Autonomous Systems, alternative DNS root servers in Russian National Domain Name System, controls local ISPs interconnect and Internet exchanges. The main goal is to provide access to Russian Autonomous Internet Subnetwork even after disconnect or isolation from the global Internet (Sovereign Internet Law)


Enforcement actions


On April 5, 2013, it was confirmed by a spokesperson for ''Roskomnadzor'' that Wikipedia had been blacklisted over the article 'Cannabis smoking' (Курение каннабиса) on Russian Wikipedia. On March 31, 2013 ''The New York Times'' reported that Russia was beginning 'Selectively Blocking heInternet'. In 2014, during the Crimea Crisis, ''Roskomnadzor'' had a number of websites criticising Russian policy in Ukraine blocked, including the blog of Alexei Navalny, Kasparov.ru and . Also, on June 22, 2016 Amazon Web Services was entirely blocked for a couple of hours because of a poker app.

GitHub

In October 2014 GitHub was blocked for a short time. On December 2 GitHub was blocked again for some satiric notes, describing "methods of suicide", which caused major tensions among Russian software developers. It was unblocked on December 4, and GitHub had set up a special page dedicated to ''Roskomnadzor''-related issues. All content was and remains available for non-Russian networks.

Russian Wikipedia

On August 18, 2015, an article in Russian Wikipedia about charas (Чарас (наркотическое вещество)) was blacklisted by ''Roskomnadzor'' as containing propaganda on narcotics. The article was then rewritten from scratch using UN materials and textbooks, but on August 24 it was included in the list of forbidden materials, sent to Internet providers of Russia. As Wikipedia uses HTTPS protocol to encrypt traffic, effectively all of the site with all language versions of Wikipedia was blocked in Russia on the night of August 25.


Adult content


In September 2016, adult websites Pornhub and YouPorn were blocked by ''Roskomnadzor'' as containing adult pornographic content. The watchdog says that they are not in the market and the demography is not a commodity.

''The Daily Stormer''

In 2017, the neo-Nazi website ''The Daily Stormer'' was briefly moved to a Russian domain, but Roskomnazdor subsequently acted to remove its access, and the site was subsequently moved to the dark web.


Telegram


On April 16, 2018, Roskomnadzor ordered Russian ISPs to block access to the instant messenger Telegram, as the company refused to hand over the encryption keys for users' chats to Russian authorities. The information watchdog applied the method of mass IP blocks, hitting the major hosting providers, such as Amazon, and disrupting hundreds of Russian internet services. Roskomnadzor had to abandon this approach, but failed to implement aby other means to stop Russian users from accessing Telegram. In the end, the Roskomnadzor and other government structures set up their own channels in the “outlawed” app. In mid-2020 Roskomnadzor officially gave up on trying to block Telegram.


Twitter


On 10 March 2021, Roskomnadzor started to “slow down” Twitter for users in Russia, attributing the decision to the platform's failure to remove illegal content. This action occasionally caused Russia's key websites, including Roskomnadzor itself, to stop working. It also led to malfunctions of major commercial services, such as Qiwi payment system, and blocked some users from accessing Yandex, Google, and YouTube. In addition, along with Twitter, Roskomnadzor throttled access to numerous websites with domain names that end in “t.co”, that is one of Twitter domain, hitting no less than 48 thousand hosts. That affected GitHub, Russia Today, Reddit, Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, Steam, and others.

See also

* Censorship in Russia * Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation (Rospechat) * Information privacy * Internet censorship in Russia

References



Further reading


How Russians Are Outsmarting Internet Censorship - Global Voices Advocacy

Federal Service for Monitoring Compliance with Cultural Heritage Protection Law


External links

* * {{Government of the Russian Federation Category:Politics of Russia Category:Censorship in Russia Category:2008 establishments in Russia Category:Government agencies established in 2008 Category:Information operations and warfare Category:Communications authorities