Digital denial

Previously if the FSB – Russia’s security service – wanted to shut down a website deemed illegal, it had to appeal to the courts. But according to an announcement by the service yesterday, as of 30 July the agency has been given outright power to block any site on its own. The Coordination Center for TLD RU, which regulates online domains in Russia, granted the FSB this mandate to supposedly streamline its efforts against cyber crime. Neither group needed parliamentary approval for this because shutting down websites is not regulated by any higher Russian law. This effectively allows the country’s intelligence officers to crack down on online dissent without oversight, putting Russia’s freedom of expression in further danger.