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Hardcore regulations? Russian government could control access to porn under new proposals designed to protect underage children

Hardcore regulations? Russian government could control access to porn under new proposals designed to protect underage children
Russian lovers of adult content could soon be forced to ask their government for permission before they can access saucy snaps and spicy clips online, with a public services portal acting as the gateway to all legal pornography.

The new proposals, from Moscow’s General Radio Frequency Centre, a subsidiary of state media watchdog Roskomnadzor, would see X-rated material shuttered away in an adults-only area on the internet. All pornography would be categorized as either ‘illegal’ or ‘not prohibited by law’.

While banned pornography would include that featuring minors and depicting “clearly offensive” themes such as rape, permitted pictures and videos would be “naturalistic images or descriptions of the genitals of an adult and / or sexual intercourse or comparable sexual activity of a sexual nature involving adults with their consent.”

But while that might sound too tantalizing to pass up, only those over the age of 18 would be able to access the content, having to sign in through a state-run public services portal before feasting their eyes on the trove.

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Roman Korostashov, acting head of the Scientific and Technical Center at the General Radio Frequency Centre, said the plans were a no-brainer. “Our main task is to protect children from destructive content,” he said, emphasizing that cracking down on illegal online material was one of the group’s main focuses.

It is, however, unclear whose job it would be to trawl the depths of the web and decide which porn falls into which category. Equally unclear is how it would work in practice, given the widespread availability of proxy servers that allow net users to access pretty much whatever they want.

Last week, Roskomnadzor warned that major tech giants including Facebook, Twitter, and Google are continuing to host shocking illegal material online, despite thousands of requests from its officials to take down prohibited posts. According to them, more than 10,000 banned posts are still up, including “child pornography, suicidal and pro-narcotic content, the involvement of minors in illegal activities and illegal mass events,” as well as “materials from extremist and terrorist organizations.”

At the start of the year, President Vladimir Putin warned that companies were taking too relaxed an attitude to protecting the public. “These platforms are, of course, primarily businesses,” he said, “and what is the primary concern of a business? Making a profit. They don’t care if this content or that content causes harm for the people at whom it is directed.”

At the same time, Putin said, “we must not make decisions that would limit human freedoms – the freedom of choice and freedom of speech.”

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