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Experts disliked Russian RKN’s draft order on web-site identification for blocking purposes

Experts from Russian government believes Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor extends its authority by means of proposed draft order. They believe the draft order is to be rewritten; the draft provides Roskomnadzor with authority to restrict access to any web-site at its own discretion. But Roskomnadzor believes it has proposed the suitable draft of order – it is necessary to fix failures made by courts in their decisions and other documents made by relevant authorities or officers.

According to experts Roskomandzor would receive the right to determine, not to identify (when the authority knows what to search), to decide what web-resource or web-page is to be blocked in Russia in a “case if any omission has been revealed”. It means that the Roskomnadzor would substitute other relevant and competent authorities who should establish the fact whether certain information is to be blocked in Russia.

In other words, Roskomnadzor proposed not to duplicate functions of other Russian authorities, it has proposed to execute such functions without authority to do this under Russian law. The draft order does not provide the procedure for identification of web-site or any resource in internet. It is not clear from the draft order how to define whether information, found on certain resource, coincides with information which is the reason for restriction of access in Russia – whether such information must be authentic or similar, or match by meaning.

It was expected that Roskomnadzor will draft the order providing procedure of identification, in other words how to identify (to find) web-sites, web-pages, software and informational systems, exploited for circumvention of blockings in Russia (VPN or proxy services). But in fact Roskomnadzor has draft procedure for identification of web-resource which is to be blocked, but not for identification of means (web-resource, software, apps) exploited for circumvention of blocking in Russia.

It is not in the scope of RKN’s authority to decide what web-resource is to be blocked in Russia. It is authority of Russian courts, prosecutors’ office, rightholders. According to draft order RKN intends to decide, instead of courts, right holders or prosecutors, what web-resource is to be blocked in Russia.