Sep 16, 2020
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Draft on extrajudicial blocking of extremist sites by security forces submitted to the State Duma

A bill has been submitted to the State Duma, according to which power structures will be able to initiate blocking of any Internet resource as extremist on the basis of an expert's opinion.

Bill N 1021899-7 was posted on Tuesday in the legislative base of the lower house. The package of documents was jointly submitted by the legislative assembly of Bashkiria and State Duma deputy Ramzil Ishsarin (United Russia), Interfax reports.

The initiators propose to supplement Article 15.1 of the Law "On Information", which says about maintaining the Unified Register of Prohibited Information, with a new part 5.1. According to it, the body carrying out operational-search activities will be able to recognize the Internet material as extremist on the basis of the expert's opinion, and as part of this decision, Roskomnadzor will enter the website address into the register of prohibited information. After that, the material will be blocked in Russia.

Now in Russia there is a judicial procedure for blocking extremist materials. And Internet sites that are not mass media are included in the Unified Register of Prohibited Information only after a federal court sees signs of extremism in them on the basis of a prosecutor's statement or during proceedings in a relevant case.

At the same time, the internal affairs bodies and the FSB are involved in the investigation of the dissemination of materials with signs of extremism (Article 280 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation provides for responsibility for public incitements to extremism). In addition, there is a rule according to which the Prosecutor General or his deputy can initiate restriction of access to certain materials, which directly contain a call to carry out extremist activities.

According to the explanatory note to the new bill, the current procedure is ineffective. First, the authors write, a large amount of time passes from the detection of an extremist resource to its blocking, "which allows recruiters to continue to carry out illegal activities with impunity and involve new participants," and secondly, attackers quickly create "mirrors" of their resources.

In April, the draft law received a positive opinion from the Commission on Legislative Support of National Security and Anti-Corruption of the Council of Legislators of the Russian Federation. Nevertheless, the government of the Russian Federation did not support the draft law on the grounds that it grants the security officials "discretionary powers not commensurate with the degree of threats to public security, which creates preconditions for the violation of the constitutional rights of citizens."

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