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Russian Pirate Party Set To Host Banned Websites Abroad

The political organisation wants to help websites that were ‘blacklisted’ without any reason

The Pirate Party of Russia, a socio-political group campaigning for “commerce-free exchange of information on the Internet”, is launching a specialized web hosting service, Piratehost.net, just three weeks after the Russian Ministry of Justice refused to register it officially for bureaucratic reasons.

In his blog, Party vice chairman Stanislav Shakirov called his group’s initiative an attempt to “fence out web parasites,” or government officials in his terminology, who seek to keep complete control over the Internet.

Blacklisting the blacklisters

The eccentric endeavor, dubbed “Operation Clean Internet,” is aimed at countering the “useless website blocking activity” undertaken by the Russian government.

Government authorities launched an online register of banned web content on November 1, 2012, in a bid to “crack down on cyber-extremism and banned information that may be harmful to children”.

Piracy © Lorelyn Medina Shutterstock 2012The Pirate Party of Russia claims that “more than 3,000 websites have been blocked illegally in Russia” since the launch of the register simply because those sites happened to share the same IP addresses as the truly harmful resources.

The Party’s overall philosophy is that “there’s no harmful information; there is information that some government officials want to conceal and some corporations find undesirable for unrestricted circulation”. However, Shakirov highlighted in his blog that “there’s [such a thing as] web ethics” and declared Piratehost.net will be free from “spam, carding, phishing, and child pornography”. Websites that disregard the ethical code of Piratehost.net will be banished “without prior notice”, the Party leader warned.

For its paid hosting service, the Pirate Party has rented data centers in “a few Asian and European countries”, Shakirov said in an exchange with the Russian business daily Vedomosti. Websites that face imminent blocking in Russia for alleged copyright infringement or political dissent can therefore consider moving to the foreign servers. He did not give geographic details; nor did he agree to name any Pirate Party supporters, saying only that these are “Russian and foreign Internet figures.”

The Pirate Party is preparing for any likely attempt on the part of Russian officials to wipe out its freewheeling service. As a counter-measure, it is determined to “curb access to our clients’ websites from IP addresses that belong to Russian government bodies.” Roskomnadzor, the agency behind website blocking, was one of the first to appear on this alternative blacklist.

This story originally appeared on East-West Digital News.

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