A new Russian internet censorship law will require popular bloggers to register with the government, a move that will enable closer government control over what is published online.
The new law, known as the “bloggers law”, was signed by Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday, and will go into effect on Aug. 1. Violators of the law could face fines up to $142,000, according to a report by the New York Times.
The law equates any site with 3,000 visitors per day as a media outlet that is required to publish accurate information. Of course, what is deemed accurate by the government is not neccessarily untruthful, but could be information critical of authorities or public figures.
Bloggers will not be able to remain anonymous under the new law, and search engines and social networks must hold on to computer records (on Russian soil) of everything posted over the previous six months. Web hosts may also be required to hand over information on popular bloggers at the government’s request.
Russia isn’t the only country to enact laws around online censorship. China, of course, is the most popular example of this initiative, but other countries including Turkey and Pakistan have blocked access to websites in the past.
In February, a Russian law went into effect that allowed the government to block websites, including online news sites that reported on political demonstrations. Last November, a new law in Russia enabled authorities to block access to websites through web hosts and ISPs that were deemed inappropraite to children.