Russia bans Wikipedia for drug reference, reverses decision hours later

Adam Westlake - Aug 25, 2015, 7:42am CDT
Russia bans Wikipedia for drug reference, reverses decision hours later

It seems the Russian government hasn’t changed its stance on internet censorship following the recent, and brief, ban of the website Reddit. Beginning late on Monday evening, the Russia’s Roskomnadzor, or “Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications,” issued a ban on all of Wikipedia after an entry was discovered about a type of hashish from India that reportedly included “instructions” on how to make it.

Information about producing or procuring drugs is banned in Russia, which was the same reason the government took action against Reddit after a single conversation thread was found to have information about psychedelic mushrooms. The Roskomnadzor agency is tasked with policing the internet for such prohibited information.

As Wikipedia uses HTTPS across its website, also like Reddit, the nation’s government is unable to censor a single page with objectionable information. Thus, in both cases, Russia’s ISPs were told to block access to the websites nation-wide. Reddit was unblocked after less than two days once the offending thread was deleted.

Fortunately, this situation has also been quickly resolved and Wikipedia is accessible once again. While Wikipedia.ru reportedly pledged to fight the government’s actions, Roskomnadzor said on Tuesday morning the ban on the website had been removed, as the article had been edited.

Oddly enough, Russian internet users have said that nothing has changed on the offending Wikipedia entry, but only its title has been renamed. At least the people of Russia are free to use the online encyclopedia once again, or at least until the next piece of prohibited information is discovered.

SOURCE Associated Press, Sputnik News


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