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State Duma committee recommends against new online censorship bill

The state-building and legislation committee of Russia’s State Duma has recommended against the adoption of a bill that would allow the Russian government to identify email users and block them if they use email to send banned online content. The bill was proposed by Andrey Klishas, the lawmaker behind a number of other draconian Internet regulation proposals, and a group of three other deputies. Lyudmila Bokova, one of those deputies, worked with Klishas to create Russia’s Internet isolation law.

The Duma committee concluded that the terms of the bill were too broad — vague enough to apply to any messaging service, including social media and online chats. The committee also noted that the bill would likely be ineffective because similar measures intended to block messengers like Telegram have not been enforceable, and blocked users have the ability to open new accounts.

Duma leaders also noted that, unlike instant messages, emails travel among various services, including non-Russian services, which would make it more difficult to identify users.