Belarus ISP asks users to censor themselves

Dec 10, 2011
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A story started making its way around the Belarusian Internet several days ago when the state ISP Beltelecom sent its subscribers a request to change the DNS servers manually in order to “comply with the legislature on controlling Internet access”.

In other words, the users are being told to change the DNS servers in their connection settings manually so as to block access to restricted sites like prokopovi.ch and other independent news websites that have been classified as extremist, etc.

Belarus enacted this law, which allows all ISPs and MSPs to record their subscribers’ online activity.  It also allows the storing the data for at least five years and provides security agencies 24/7 access to this info. Website filtering is also regulated by the same legal acts.

Until now, access to several independent news websites has only been blocked from state institutions; the social network of VKontakte.ru and some independent websites like nn.by, belaruspartisan.org, and charter97.org are difficult to access in days with demonstrations.

After the elections on 19 December, 2010, the security agencies started tracking people whose phones had been registered on a tower close the Plosca Niezaleznasci (Independence Square) where the demonstrations had been taking place to call them for interrogation.


About the Author

Alaksiej Lavoncyk

Alaksiej Lavonczyk is a media activist and social media expert from Minsk, Belarus. He had been in charge of the training projects for the NGOs and media on building their capacity in online campaigning and end-user security. Alaksiej had also acted as a consulting and technical expert for NGOs and media in Belarus and four countries of Central Asia (except Turkmenistan) on upgrading media/NGO websites to meet contemporary standards, and on their promotion online. Alaksiej is also running an online training centre for the Central Asians preparing the specialists in SMO promotion.
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