Russia Unblocks Yahoo After ISIS video is deleted

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Russia is well known for its internet censorship. In May, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor wrote to three US tech companies warning them against violating  the internet censorship laws in the country. Failure by the three companies to comply could result in blocking of their services. Roskomnadzor argued that the encryption technology employed  by the three firms, Russia was finding it difficult to block specific websites or bring down content deemed to be contravening its strict blogger and internet laws.

The watchdog threatened banning Reddit over a thread entry dedicated to growing Marijuana In its message, the watchdog says the subreddit, /r/trees encourages the growth of narcotics thus contravening Russian laws. The body went to the extent of posting a wanted poster, with the Reddit logo and further mocking the company for not replying to their emails. Wikipedia suffered the same wrath over a page on preparing and using a cannabis-containing drug known as Hashish or Charas. Wikipedia was banned for a few hours then unblocked. For Wikipedia, the entire site was offline as it uses https technology that makes blocking individual pages impossible.

Now last week, Yahoo was blocked in Russia over a video that showed up on its website with ISIS content. The regulator had written to Yahoo over the same, but Yahoo failed to reply on time. This then led to the addition of Yahoo to the catalogue of banned websites in Russia. Like Wikipedia, Yahoo uses https technology which made blocking the specific page impossible. Yahoo finally took down the video and only then were they removed from the blocked sites.

Russia is known for its strict censorship laws with regards to the use of the internet. The situation is tougher on bloggers with rules that dictate that everyone who blogs or has a blog in that country to declare to the state their family name, initials and e-mail address.  Those who average of over 3000 visitors per day  register in a special list and have to abide by the same rules and regulations that mainstream mass media adheres to.

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