Roscomnadzor Threatens Complete Block of RuNet Encyclopedia

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Russian telecom watchdog Roscomnadzor will start blocking Lurkmore, the encyclopedia of Russian Internet lore, in its entirety. The website's content has put it on the RuNet's blacklist before, but this time censors are citing secure communication protocols as an additional reason to block the whole of Lurkmore in Russia.

In a statement on their official VK page, Roscomnadzor said they had initially intended to block certain pages on the website that in their opinion dealt with “drug use and pedophilia (child porn).”

But because the Lurkmore website uses the https encryption protocol, the statement says, the ISPs are unable to just block the offending pages, since they cannot filter them out, so they will have to block the website completely.

Roscomnadzor's issues with Lurkmore have their basis in the Federal Law “On Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development” and the Internet restriction bill amending it in, passed in 2012. The amendment suggests the law should be applied to websites containing child pornography, promotion of drug use, and calls to suicide.

Lurkmore's founder Dmitry (David) Homak said Roscomnadzor's public shaming was “a form of blackmail” and told TJournal they were overstepping themselves by posting public appeals on social networks instead of sending private emails with takedown requests. He also said the decision about taking down the pages in question has not yet been made.

Да чего-то руки не дошли. Ну, закроем, наверное. Я не понимаю, чего добиваются в РКН, поэтому не уверен.

Some things we simply haven't had time for. We might close [access to the pages], I guess. I just don't see what RCN [Roscomnadzor] is trying to achieve, so I'm not sure.

Lurkmore later published a detailed list of all complaints and takedown requests they have so far received from Rosconmadzor and other related bodies.

This is what the Lurkmore logo on its website looks like right now. Screenshot from lurkmore.to.

This is what the Lurkmore logo on its website looks like right now. Screenshot from lurkmore.to.

This is not the first time Lurkmore—an informal Russian-language online encyclopedia of Internet subcultures, folklore, and memes—has graced the web regulators’ blacklist. In December 2014, the watchdog blocked several articles that described ways of drug use. Then, Homak quickly made them unavailable to users in Russia.

In 2012, the whole website was blocked because of an article about marijuana, but was removed from the blacklist after the article was blocked for RuNet users. In 2013, Lurkmore also had to block an article titled “Suicide” for users with Russian IP addresses.

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