Cyber patrols in Russia.

Cyber patrols in Russia.The State Duma of the Russian Federation intends to launch cyber patrols — a bipartisan movement of regular citizens to search for harmful content on the Internet that would be prohibited for publication under Russian laws, MK reported.

How cyber patrols are going to work

Russia used to have neighbourhood watch volunteers where people would walk together at nights to monitor happenings in a certain area: Pick people who are drunk and disorderly, stop fights and burglaries, if noticed. Drunks were the most frequent clients of patrollers, who were given a local office to manage their activities.

In a similar fashion, the cyber vigilantes are supposed to monitor the vast plains of the Russian Internet to pick any activities or information that doesn’t meet the requirements of the legislation.

The laws about disrespect to authorities and fake news

The idea of cyber patrols in Russia surfaced at the times when the whole Runet (the Russian-speaking Internet space) is eagerly discussing newly adopted laws about disrespect to authorities and fake news.

Anyone speaking badly about a person in a position of authority or spreading ‘fake news’ is now under the threat of a large fine or can be even detained for 15 days.

Thus, members of the digital vigilante groups would be informing authorities (police and the office of prosecution) about anyone violating these new statues, as well as earlier laws regarding condoning unlawful activities (terrorism, racial discrimination, pro-gay propaganda, which is banned in Russia, etc).

The work of Internet patrolling volunteers would be regulated by the new legislation, which is now in works in the Russian Duma (Parliament).

The authors of the draft legislation insist that activities of the Internet patrollers won’t impede the freedom of speech, but will be directed to reduce the amount of negative and harmful content online.

Cyber patrols in Russia to scout Internet for banned content.

Digital vigilantes will be going online in their spare time in search of banned content and report it to authorities. The online neighbourhood watch is going to be volunteer-driven.

Destructive content from ‘outside’

According to the legislators, “a sizable portion of the destructive content is injected from the outside” (from abroad, supposedly), this is why 60-70% of the cyber patrollers should seek such information and report it to authorities.

Critics of the proposed vigilante cyber watch say the resources should be directed towards eliminating more urgent threats such as distribution of illegal drugs, organization of semi-criminal groups, etc. Such things are harder to tackle but it has to be done.

Why not?

Opponents of the volunteer-driven cyber watch believe that the mental health of the patrolling citizens could be at risk from dealing with too much negative content. Such work requires a professional training to be able to handle the stress. There is nothing about a professional training for participants in the draft law. It would also require a detailed training to learn to recognize safe content from the unsafe one.

Another concern is the physical safety and protection of patrol participants.

According to Grigory Paschenko, the law on cyber patrols is necessary because currently people who are curious about illegal content, as well as journalist, attempt to become members of the patrols. So, vigilante Internet watch in Russia already exists, albeit without any legislative grounds?

If this is true, wouldn’t bipartisan digital policing, if widely adopted, encourage the spread of banned information, as opposed to limiting access to such content?

While the opponents of cyber patrols believe there is no need to create such a structure, the proponents intend to revise the draft law and hope to have it voted in by the Duma.

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noname
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noname

Елена, у нас уже давно за некоторые публикации людей отправляют в колонии строгого режима. В контакте уже давно люди перестали высказываться на любые темы, за ЛЮБОЙ репост у себя на странице или просто добавленную понравившуюся к себе картинку с чужой страницы можно загреметь под фанфары. Проводят ,,показательные суды, над гражданами из разных возрастных категорий, чтобы напугать остальных. Ну просто репрессии 30-х годов, Сталину привет!
Ви Кей стал скушен, обсуждений нет, люди помалкивают , даже троллить друг друга перестали, боятся что посадят.

Elena
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Elena

That’s sad. Internet gave us such a wonderful opportunity to share experiences and opinions.

Simon
Guest
Simon

That’s not good news… I think you are right… Heading back towards Stalin, the 1930s, and a culture of fear.
I hate how “fake news” has become a term for anything which a government disagrees with, regardless of the truth of it.
We are seeing the world move backwards, instead of forwards. And paranoid fear on a state level can have some pretty large repurcussions…

Robert
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Robert

“Anyone speaking badly about a person in a position of authority or spreading ‘fake news’ is now under the threat of a large fine or can be even detained for 15 days.” “The authors of the draft legislation insist that activities of the Internet patrollers won’t impede the freedom of speech” Seriously? It is just pointless, or dangerous. In a country, where the President have one of the best approval rating on planet Earth, and even respected by most of his enemies simple pointless. Who deserve a position what bears (knowledge, skill, respect, ethics) need no such law. Who have… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

About cyber watch and real use of it: Could be very effective. Russian are very good in the cyberspace. Not authorities, but persons, and groups. Depends how they want to execute this patrol. Also volunteers are easily deniable and expendable. But all critics are absolutely real. “mental health of the patrolling citizens could be at risk from dealing with too much negative content” I know people who had nightmares, must be on sedatives for long term, or end up hospital from one or a couple of videos/ sites what on my scale is only a low level of negative content.… Read more »