A recent study based on the findings of a poll in Russia highlights the fact that the majority of Russian citizens agree with the Internet censorship measures taken by the Government and state that such acts are justified by the ongoing threats of the web to the country.

Russia has been tightening its legislation regarding Internet freedom and censorship over the years. Due to the international issues that the country has to deal with, such as its confrontation with the West about the war with Ukraine, Russia has become even stricter with the Internet surveillance and the prohibitions that it poses on sites and users. Surprisingly enough, the majority of Russian citizens agree with such tactics. This is the conclusion of a recent study of the Moscow Times, highlighting the opinion of the people living in Russia as to the hot potato of Internet censorship.

The study that was published by the Moscow Times is based on a poll that was conducted by the independent Levada-Center and took place in late September of 2014. 54 of the people who were asked about Internet censorship within the country were actually convinced that there are adequate threats on the web justifying Internet censorship and another 16 of them did not choose sides. This potentially reflects the fear of the Russian people and the influence of the local media on the matter. On the bright side, another poll with 1,630 adults participated in total showed that only 15 per cent would be in favor of legislation restricting Internet freedom in the country.

The ongoing efforts of Russia to decrease the overall level of freedom in the country and control fully the web experience of every Russian citizen are more than evident. Back in July, there were rumors about legislation banning data storage abroad. This would affect giants like Facebook or Twitter, since they do not have servers within Russia’s territory. Then, it was time for re-tweets and sharing options to get under scrutiny. The Russian Government tweeted on the matter, placing strict consequences even for re-tweeting and sharing data: “Retweeting and publication is the same thing as distribution”, which raises the bar of security high.

In a supposedly hostile environment like that of the web (where the USA prevails), Russia is doing everything to protect its privacy and monitor the information reached to its citizens. With increasing measures of Internet censorship that are now expanding to social media and bloggers, there is no point of return. Even though it is totally justifiable to cater for the needs of your people, it is a matter of debate whether or not a Government should try to accomplish its goals through the use of restrictive legislation.

Featured Image: By Bogomolov.PL – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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