Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kremlin Can't Pursue War Against Internet Without Hackers, Expert Says

Paul Goble writes on the Georgian Daily:

The Kremlin will not be able to close down Internet sites it doesn't like without using hackers, either those working directly for its security services or those inspired by Moscow's propaganda campaigns, according to a leading Russian specialist on that country's intelligence services.

In an interview posted online yesterday, Andrei Soldatov, the editor of and a frequent commentator on the activities of the FSB and other Russian intelligence services, said that Moscow's campaign against showed the limits of its ability to achieve its goals through legal means.

This week, he noted, the Russian authorities for the first time lifted the domain registration of a site – – in hopes of closing it down. They acted in accordance with the "rules on the registration of domains on dot RU."

Up until this time, the intelligence specialist said, Moscow and regional governments have put pressure on Russian-based providers in efforts to close down sites not through the use of Russian courts but rather by "telephoning" the providers and explaining to them what was necessary.

But like all their previous efforts in the two-year-long campaign to close this independent news portal, the Russian and Ingush powers that be failed because the editors of the site, which is already hosted by an IP abroad, quickly re-registered in the dotORG domain where they can operate freely.

The Russian government has tried to pressure foreign governments to close down sites that Moscow doesn't like in the past. In 2005, Soldatov recounts, the Russian foreign ministry demanded that Sweden shut down the pro-Chechen Kavkaz-Tsentr site, but Sweden refused point blank to do so.

More here.


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