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Russia's New Battle: The Internet

This article is from Issue 61: Jan/Feb 2013

A law that began with the noblest of intentions—to make the Internet a safe place for kids—has the potential to curb free speech in Russia. In July, Vladimir Putin signed the amended Act for Information, which took effect in October, giving the Russian government free rein to blacklist and shut down websites it deems harmful, without any due process.

What are the limits of this law? How is “harmful to children” defined? Critics are raising these questions, seeing the law as a move by Putin to exercise greater control over the population.