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Russia Cracks Down On Public Wi-Fi; Oracle Blocks Java Downloads In Russia 254

Linking to a story at Reuters, reader WilliamGeorge writes "Russia is further constraining access to the internet and freedom of speech, with new laws regarding public use of WiFi. Nikolai Nikiforov, the Russian Communications Minister, tweeted that "Identification of users (via bank cards, cell phone numbers, etc.) with access to public Wifi is a worldwide practice." This comes on top of their actions recently to block websites of political opponents to Russian president Vladimir Putin, require registration of prominent bloggers, and more. The law was put into effect with little notice and without the input of Russian internet providers. Sergei Plugotarenko, head of the Russian Electronic Communications Association, said "It was unexpected, signed in such a short time and without consulting us." He added, "We will hope that this restrictive tendency stops at some point because soon won't there be anything left to ban." In addition to the ID requirement to use WiFi, the new law also requires companies to declare who is using their web networks and calls for Russian websites to store their data on servers located in Russia starting in 2016." That's not the only crackdown in progress, though: former Slashdot code-wrestler Vlad Kulchitski notes that Russian users are being blocked from downloading Java with an error message that reads, in essence, "You are in a country on which there is embargo; you cannot download JAVA." Readers at Hacker News note the same, though comments there indicate that the block may rely on a " specific and narrow IP-block," rather than being widespread. If you're reading this from Russia, what do you find?
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Russia Cracks Down On Public Wi-Fi; Oracle Blocks Java Downloads In Russia

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  • by uCallHimDrJ0NES ( 2546640 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @03:55PM (#47632813)

    ...then access to the Internet no longer looks like "free speech" or an economic stimulant. It now simply looks like foreign surveillance of my citizens, who are ignorant to how they're being harvested and used for the interest of external powers. If life were a game of Civ, and I was playing as Russia, I'd cut off the Internet too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2014 @03:58PM (#47632835)

    It'll do the world a favour once Russia realizes they're the fucking third world - they're not a peer, they're not a competitor, they're a backward relic from a bygone era. The US, EU, and China represent the real powers in the globe, with a strong first-world supporting cast of Japan and other countries; a strong second-world with a developing Brazil, India and the Asia Tigers; finally you have those which time is slowly forgetting. Russia clearly fits in to a clearly defined role.

    As reported to European media, their population loves the actions their leaders are undertaking to "stick it to the west"; as far as we should be concerned, they can sleep in the bed that Vladimir makes.

  • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @05:08PM (#47633493)

    their population loves the actions their leaders

    There you go. Mod the parent up.

    The parent perhaps goes too far in dismissing Russia's standing in the world since '91; there has been a huge flow of capital from the West into Russia to fund heavy industry beyond the reach of Western regulatory burdens and this has stimulated rapid economic growth and a resurgence in Russian military capability, including new design ICBM deployments.

    But the parent is absolutely correct about the Russian people and the leaders they empower. Russians are once again indulging a cult of personality in Putin. I know there are many Russians in IT and geekery that will say I'm all wrong because that's not what they would have, but the fact is that the majority of Russians are thrilled by their bare chested father figure, sop up every morsel of the propaganda they're being fed and have kept him in power long enough to cement his place as Russia's latest autocrat.

    Russia; publicly cultivate your masculinity and say bad things about America and you too can install yourself for life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2014 @11:32PM (#47635637)

    I agree that parent might be going too far in dismissing Russia's standing today, but I think you're both somewhat incorrect on the mood of the Russian people. In actuality, there is a lot of disgust and guilt amongst Russians over Ukraine, but a lot of this is suppressed by the need to show support for the government and the reactionaries who do in fact agree with the government. Think about those with cooler heads just after 9/11 who wanted more forethought and calm. The more they spoke out, the more they were branded as sympathizers of the enemy. There is a genuine distrust of the west in Russia. It's not entirely unearned however. See the west through the eyes of a Soviet Russian or a new Russian. Entities like NATO, CIA, and SIS (MI-6) are scary things in much the same way as Warsaw Pact and KGB were to the west. The difference: NATO, CIA, and SIS exist today. NATO has been taking former Warsaw Pact nations as members. This puts the NATO border much closer to Russia. NATO exists for the purpose of fighting Russia (albeit the Soviet era Russia). Russia is not the EU, yet former Soviet satellites and eastern Bloc nations are. This isolates Russia every more. There is an additional language barrier in the cyrillic alphabet without the advantage of western exposure to latinization as there is in Ukraine and the former Yugoslavian nations. There have been several moves by the US in European affairs that have marginalized Russia. All these things are real. But then you have the perceived stuff in the media. Putin has used the media very well to sell the idea that westerners truly hate Russians. It ranges from the same kind of "They hate us for our freedom" simplistic statements that Americans use to explain their enemies to more extreme ideas that are similar anti-semitism.

    It's really unfair to blame Russian people as many do (not saying you have). Russians do not have the access that westerners have. The Russians I know, none of whom are techies, just ordinary wage slaves - they can only whisper about how upset they are at the way things have gotten. Americans have to stop assuming that Russians can just pick up a Don't Tread on Me sign and an AR-15 and march through the streets or get an opposition cable news channel with some pundit who will attack the president.It really is a different world.

  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Saturday August 09, 2014 @09:30AM (#47637015)

    By every definition of Imperialism I've ever seen the Russians are doing a lot more of it then the US. Putin is trying to increase his sphere of influence with the Eurasian Union. eat bits of neighbors who rock his boat, refusing to give up control of a region that included a major military base, etc.

    Hardly. If you buy the western line that the rebels in east Ukraine are all reporting directly to Putin then yes, but nobody with any knowledge does buy that line, it's clearly nonsense. Putin told them not to have a referendum, they ignored him. The rebels asked Russia to annex east Ukraine, Putin ignored them. He certainly did not order anyone to shoot down a civilian air liner.

    Meanwhile, in the last few years the USA has formally established the global American empire for the first time. Yes, before 2010 it was largely a matter of pressure and the belief by world leaders that America would engage in economic warfare against anyone, including so called "allies", who defied it. But then America passed a law called FATCA that turns every bank or financial institution in the world into an arm of the IRS recursively. Not just institutions that trade with America, but all of them, every last one, with institutions exposed to the US economy punished unless they in turn enforce Washington's will upon their trading partners and so on. America has also started passing recursive trade sanctions, sanctions that say "you're either with us or against us and if you're against us, you get sanctioned in exactly the same way". They did this for Iran, for example.

    Now tell me. What is a country that can tax anyone it likes, anywhere in the world, and punish anyone it likes, anywhere in the world, and force anyone to take part in their economic wars, anywhere in the world, regardless of what those people actually want? The ability to tax and the ability to draft into an army is the defining characteristic of an empire. Russia can't do shit to me here in western Europe but America can and will ruin me if I get on the wrong side of them. That makes me an unwilling citizen of the American empire.

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet