A study by RBC: 65% blocked in Russia sites continue to work

Photo: Alain Kondyurin for RBC

In 2016, the Russian authorities have blocked a record number of sites with illegal content. But the RBC analysis showed that at least 65% of the resources from the registry of Roscomnadzor continue to work

2016 was a record number of web pages and IP addresses that are trapped in existing since the end of 2012, the Unified register of domain names, pages of sites and network addresses containing information the dissemination of which is prohibited in Russia. Almost 87 thousand pages, domain names and IP addresses have been blacklisted, stated in the message of Roskomnadzor. Nearly a third of them — 34.5 thousand as at the end of December remained in the registry, that is, their administrators do not have to remove illegal content. By the end of 2016 in the registry was about 51,7 thousand pages, domains and IP addresses; by mid-February 2017, the number had risen to 60.2 thousand

The rate of replenishment of the registry is growing each year. In 2013, it made a 14.5 thousand sites and pages, of which by the end of the year remained blocked 3.4 thousand resources. In 2014 was made 28,96 thousand sites and pages, of which 4 thousand remained blocked in 2015 — 49,7 thousand sites and pages, of which 18.8 thousand was blocked, it follows from Roskomnadzor.

According to the Roskomsnab — public project that promotes freedom of information on the Internet, in total, the registry was 137,4 thousand websites, of which almost 60% was subsequently unlocked. Official data on what sites remain blocked due to the fact that did not remove prohibited content, no. RBC analyzed the registry and came to the conclusion that, despite the block, at least 65% of the sites from the registry continue to work, that is, their administrators continue to pay domain registration, hosting and filling content.

Calculated as operating sites

To analyze the web pages that fall into the black list of Roskomnadzor, was used to copy the registry from the website Roskomsnab. The source of RBC in Roskomnadzor confirmed the relevance of the data from the backup. Content analysis was conducted only on those sites that were opened as at 16 December 2016 — about 30 thousand to determine the topic of the resource, used sets of keywords. To identify the geography of IP addresses used freely distributed database of IP address blocks GeoLite2.

Method of replenishment

Roskomnadzor began to keep a register of banned sites in November 2012, when entered into force the law “On the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development”. He gave the Ministry the right to close sites in the pretrial order. Roskomnadzor could give the provider an indication to limit access to sites with pornography involving minors, instructions for suicide or guidelines for the manufacture of drugs.

Later the right of pre-judicial blocking of sites and pages that describe how the manufacture of drugs appeared in the Federal service for control over drug trafficking (after the dissolution passed to the MVD), appeals to suicide — the CPS, for extremist materials, calls for mass disturbances, incitement of ethnic and religious strife, participation in terrorist activities and other illegal information from the Prosecutor General, sites with the online casino and bookmakers — the Federal tax service.

In the registry there are records, dated 2004-2012 years. In this case we are talking about the pages that contained nationalist or religious content blocked, if the court recognized him as an extremist. Now the courts continue to block the sites for the sale of certain medications, alcohol products, import of which is prohibited, diplomas, passports, military tickets, medical certificates and other documents; for information about the evasion of taxes, credits, about the “twisting” of the meter; for unauthorized distribution of copyright-protected content, offer sexual services, etc.

Geography and themes of banned sites

A large part of IP addresses (48%) in the list of Roskomnadzor, refers to blocks of addresses allocated to the United States. This is due to the fact that the US was distributed 35% of all unique addresses in the old version of the Internet Protocol IPv4.

Of those sites, the content of which failed to perform, a large part contain pornography materials on gambling policy or were extremist in nature.

Photo: Alain Kondyurin for RBC

Why the owners of sites from the registry continue to support their work

According to the Director of the coordination centre of domains .EN/.Of the Russian Federation Andrey Vorobyov, sites that need a Russian audience, making every effort to restore access to them from the country. “We can assume that sites that are not changing their policies, rely mainly on users from other countries, where the published information or the principles of processing of personal data is not prohibited”, — he noted, citing as an example the social network LinkedIn, which was blocked in Russia, according to the court, but remains available for users from other countries.

With this agrees the Executive Director domain name Registrar Reg.ru Svetlana Lienko. She reminds that the Russian sites in the aggregate is not more than 2% of the global Internet, while Russia generated 30% of traffic to Russian-speaking audience, the rest from the territories of other countries. Finally, many sites support two or more languages, that is focused not only on the Russians.

Roskomsnab lawyer Sarkis Darbinyan notes that the legislation practically does not provide for the restriction of access to sites on an ongoing basis. Eternal lock can only be used on anti — piracy law- the court may make such decision on claims related to copyright infringement. At the moment the decision was made in respect of 162 domain names. For example, eternal lock has been a popular torrent tracker RuTracker.org and the French YouTube Dailymotion.

Full lock RuTracker.org uncritically reflected in the number of visitors to the resource. Thus, according to Similar Web, formed at the request of RBC, in December 2015 on the website was recorded about 52,9 million visits from Russia, in December 2016 29.9 million users from Russia can use VPN services, and other ways to bypass the lock, which means that Russian IP address were able to masquerade as the IP address of a resident of the other country. World of torrent traffic the whole of last year was reduced but still remained significant. In January 2016 it has been visited 106,8 million users from all over the world, in December of the same year 76.1 million

Authorities are trying to complicate the existence of illegal resources. So, the possibility of a ban for banks to transfer money to the Russians to foreign companies and natural persons, seen in illegal gambling. In 2016, on demand Roskomnadzor has blocked 12.6 thousand of resources dedicated to gambling, another 6.5 thousand online casinos have been blocked by the courts.

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