Genachowski Criticizes Russian Web-Blocking Bill

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Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski said Friday that Russia's new proposed Internet blacklist could endanger an open Internet.

In a statement on a new bill that gives the state the power to blacklist websites by requiring Web hosts to block access to blacklisted sites or be blacklisted themselves, Genachowski called it "a troubling and dangerous direction."

According to a VOA report Friday, the bill was billed by Russian officials as a way to protect kids from child porn and info about drug use and suicide.

"I believe this legislation will stifle investment in broadband and impede innovations that could advance Russia's promising Internet economy," he said. "While protecting children online is a legitimate governmental concern, the Duma's bill, in its current form, could lead to restricting access to valuable Internet content and services and chilling innovation, economic opportunity, as well as free expression."

Genachowski, the Obama Administration, Congress and others -- FCC commissioner Robert McDowell has been particularly vocal -- are already concerned about Russia and other countries' efforts to secure more government involvement in Internet governance.