Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Russian Duma passes its version of "COPA" prohibiting making gay content available to minors. What about the open web?

The Washington Post, in a story by Nataliya Vasilyeva and Mansur Mirovaley, reports  (p. A10) that the Russian Duma house has passed, almost unaminously, a bill prohibiting the provision of information about homosexuality to minors. The link for the story is here

That would be obviously unconstitutional in the United States because of the First Amendment.
   
Would that mean that all gay-oriented websites would be banned?  That’s already the law in Singapore, although it seems like it isn’t enforced much.   

What if the operator of a blog with information of gay issues traveled to Russia?   Could he or she be detained until he removed everything from the Internet?

Russia is also reported to be considering banning adoption of Russian children from any countries that accept gay marriage.  Will they really take care of all their own orphans?  


It does not appear that any of my sites are blocked in Russia, given analytics.  They may well be blocked in China.  They don’t’ seem to be blocked in the Middle East (unless it’s rich Saudi’s who peek around the firewalls). 

I have thought about visiting St. Petersburg later this year, but would have to consider any “risks” very carefully.

The motive for the law seems to be related to Russia’s low birthrate.  Putin has had “conception days”.  The Russians fear that information about homosexuality will make “marginal” people less interested in having children and families.   That’s the old “waverer” theory.
  

Gay sex, however, has not been outlawed in Russia since 1993, despite the anti-gay bias in much of the society.  

The Russian law bears some superficial resemblance to the US "Child Online Protection Act" or COPA, which was struck down as constitutional in 2007.  I have a separate blog for that (see my Blogger profile).  

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