07 December 2009, 23:10

Bloggers discuss blocking of access to sites by Yota provider

The WiMax-operator named "Skartel", working under the brand of Yota, blocked for several days the access of its users to a number of Internet-based resources. Messages of indignant users started to appear in the Internet on December 2. Some subscribers from different Moscow districts failed to load several oppositional websites.

The "black list" includes such sites like the kasparov.ru, nazbol.ru, kavkazcenter.ru, newtimes.ru, the site of the "Solidarity" Movement rusolidarnost.ru and rufront.ru. Besides, many Yota subscribers had problems with the website of Russian President kremlin.ru.

The users could not say that there was a particular list of particular filtered-off subscribers. Geographically, the "censorship" was revealed in Izmailovo and Southern Tushino. In the centre of Moscow, only nazbol.ru was filtered. The "New Region" writes that the stopped sites were still accessible via the anonymizer.ru.

Blog users try to clear out the matter themselves. "It's not the black PR, not the equipment failure and not 'crooked hands'," blogger sanaris wrote on December 2 in his LiveJournal. "The filtering is probably made through manipulations with routing. The tracepath is missing; the ping up to kasparov.ru is 200-500. No deviations in DNS data were revealed."

"There are several versions: firstly, the Yota did it deliberately, for self-advertisement. By understanding that the filtration would surely come up and cause public resonance - by the principle 'every advertisement is good, except for necrology'," supposed the user under nickname pro_kuratora on December 6 in the comment to the topic of the user zyalt. "Secondly, the Yota did it under its own initiative, hoping to 'please the authorities.' Such initiators should be taught Mr Medvedev's words about 'the free Internet' and 'I also visit toughly oppositional sites.' There is an official list of extremist web sites - it's quite enough. Thirdly, it could be some trick of a Yota employee who has access to traffic control, just from personal political predilections. Fourthly, an employee (employees) decided to advertise oppositional web sites - in confidence that the crowd would immediately rush to 'forbidden sites' just from the feeling of contradiction."

On Thursday, December 3, the "Skartel" technical service explained the absence of access to these sites by the presence of some list of forbidden resources. Their colleagues from the Yota stated that they had a list of 29 "extremist websites"; among them: Antifa.com Kavkaz.org and Kavkaz-Centre. However, as the company assured, Kasparov.Ru and other above websites were not on the list. The company confessed that the list of "forbidden sites" was updated a week ago.

Denis Sverdlov, director general of the "Skartel", said that on November 5 his company received a warning from the prosecutor's office of the Tsentralny District of St Petersburg, which recommended stopping the access to extremist-oriented websites. "Being a loyal company, we had to obey the prosecutor's office," he said.

Mr Sverdlov believes that the problem with access to the President's site could be a technical error, probably, not by "Skartel", but by site hosters. By the evening of Sunday, December 6, the access to it was restored. At about the same time, the access to all other resources, except for kavkazcenter.ru, was re-opened.

Meanwhile, as the "Vedomosti" reports that out of the resources blocked by Yota the list of the Ministry of Justice has only kavkazcenter.ru.

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