The Russian government’s technology and internet watchdog is threatening to block Reddit across the country if it does not remove a thread dedicated to growing cannabis.
The federal service for supervision of communications, information, technology and mass media (Roskomnadzor) has taken to one of the largest social networks in Russia, VK.com, requesting the takedown, after it received no direct response from Reddit.
The watchdog has also mocked up a “wanted” poster of Reddit’s alien mascot, and slighted the company for not responding to its emails, suggesting Reddit’s staff are “too relaxed during the August holidays”.
People with contacts at Reddit are urged to also email the company in a bid to get the thread removed, and staff at the site are asked to search their inboxes for previous correspondence or a block would be “prepared”.
Reddit recently changed its rules, however, to allow the discussion of illegal activities.
In a thread posted last month, entitled “Let’s talk content”, Reddit states that “anything illegal … things that are actually illegal, such as copyrighted material” will be removed, but that “discussing illegal activities, such as drug use, is not illegal” and will be allowed to remain.
Roskomnadzor has precedent for blocking sites. In 2013, Wikipedia was made inaccessible after allowing content related to cannabis, and last month content was removed from YouTube following copyright claims. Other barred sites include: The Pirate Bay, Wayback Machine and GitHub.
Kremlin opposition sites are also blocked, including those of prominent politicians Alexei Navalny and Garry Kasparov. Russian users can still access the sites, but only when using virtual private networks.
Source: The Guardian