Russian authorities have denied access to a couple of cryptocurrency news outlets. The formal results for the censorship move are different in each case, but the end result is estimated to be the same. Both regulators have acted on the basis of a law that empowers them to block online sources of information that have been banned in the Russian Federation.
Restrictive measures have been imposed against cointelegraph, which is a worldwide information source about the latest developments in the crypto space and another crypto news website by the name of coinspot, which is a Russian language site that spreads the news and other useful information about decentralized digital currencies, fintech trends and also financial developments.
As of October 16, the two crypto news websites have been blocked for readers in Russia. The formal reason that has been cited for the blocking of cointelegraph is a request from Russia’s federal tax service that was filed on December 25, 2017. The outlet has made a move of explaining that even though cointelegraph was blacklisted a couple of years ago, the federal service for supervision of communication information technology and mass media in the country technically did implement the ban only this week. It remains to be seen why the regulator took so long to act upon the blacklisting of the media outlet.
According to a ruling by the Central District Court of Volgograd that was made on August 22, only a single article detailing how to find a blocked in Casino had to be taken down from coinspot. However, most Russian internet providers have restricted access to the whole site. In both situations, the regulator’s decisions are based on the law “on information, information technology, and information protection,” which was enforced in July 2006.
Its provisions are typically used to justify the blocking of websites containing information the Russian Federation has prohibited for various reasons. The Russian telecommunications regulator has, in the past, taken action against other web portals related to cryptocurrencies, usually on request from other government institutions and the judiciary.
For instance, the supervisory service blocked the online exchange buybit.net in April of this year, but there have also been cases where such attempts fail. Notable is in May, where the regulator had to take a similar platform, bestchange.ru from its blacklist after prosecutors gave up efforts to block the website citing pending legislation expected to regulate digital assets. Also, in March 2018, the Saint Petersburg City Court struck down a ban on 40 websites offering information and services related to cryptocurrency and blockchain. Finally, in April, the Supreme Court overruled a decision to block the Bitcoininfo.ru news portal.
These positive developments notwithstanding the government has been tightening the noose on the Russian segment of the internet. In March, the regulator demanded that about ten virtual private network service providers connect to the federal state information system, the register that is used to keep information about all sites that have been banned in Russia. The censorship in Russia can be said to be as of current on the rise, the latest incident of this being the blocking and restriction of access to two crypto News websites.