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Russia’s Federal Youth Affairs Agency now has the authority to get websites blocked

Thanks to a government order issued on March 21, Russia’s Federal Youth Affairs Agency, Rosmolodezh, now has the power to order the state censor to block websites that distribute information “intended to encourage minors to commit life-threatening acts.” The new grounds for extrajudicial Internet censorship were introduced in legislation drafted by State Duma Deputy Speaker Irina Yarovaya and signed last December by President Putin.

The government bylaws make Rosmolodezh one of several state agencies with the authority to flag prohibited online content for blocking. According to the March 21 directive, the Interior Ministry monitors for information about manufacturing and using illegal drugs, the Consumer Rights and Health Protection Service looks for information about committing suicide, the Federal Tax Service sweeps for information about illegal gambling, the Alcohol Market Regulation Service checks for information the illegal sale of booze, and Roskomnadzor is itself empowered to block websites for sharing child pornography, suicide methods, and the manufacture of illegal drugs. Websites in Russia can also be blocked by court order.