Google Chair: Russia on China’s Path to Web Censorship

MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s recent attempts to regulate the Internet could turn it into the next China, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said Friday.

“We’re worried that Russia is on a path” toward a Chinese model of Internet censorship, Schmidt was cited by digital news website as saying.

However, Schmidt also said he expected online technologies such as blogs and social networks to usher in a “revolution” in China within a decade despite censorship.

Russia began regulating its burgeoning Internet industry after President Vladimir Putin’s reelection for a third term in 2012.

The country introduced last year an extrajudicial blacklist of websites that the government considers promoting suicide or illegal drugs, or disseminating child porn. “Extremist” websites can also be banned without a court order. In August, a draconian anti-piracy law came into effect, allowing blacklisting of websites over allegedly pirated films and TV shows before a formal court ruling is issued on questioned content’s legality.

Russia’s state Internet watchdog slammed Google-owned YouTube in April for alleged reluctance to comply with blacklisting orders. YouTube denied the accusations.

Fifty-nine percent of adult Russians go online daily or almost daily, according to a survey by the independent Levada pollster held in October.


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