Russian Police Can Take Down Websites Without a Court Order

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If the Russian police don't like a website hosted within its boundaries, that website is going down. Beginning today, no court order will be necessary to compel Internet service providers to shut down a site that displeases the administration. It's a sad day for the ideal of net freedom in Russia.

Starting March 1, 2011, new law "On Police" [RUS] grants Russian police the right to order the heads of hosting companies the obligatory commands to terminate the activity of those Internet-resources that infringe Russian or International law or endanger individual or public security. Previously, police needed a court order to close the website. Now, the legal framework gives much more freedom for content removal at Russia-based hosting platforms.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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