Streetwise Professor

February 9, 2013

Another Squeeze From The Putin Python

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 4:04 pm

Russia is one of the primary sources of child pornography in the world.  This trade goes on with very little effort by the government to stop it, and I’m probably being kind by saying “very little.”  (Keep that in mind whenever you hear the incensed Russian claims of sexual abuse of adoptees by Americans.)  Knowing that, my immediate reaction to the announcement that it would be cracking down on websites that hosted or linked to child pornography (or drug-related information, or discussions of suicide, among other things deemed dangerous to Russian youth) was that this was just a pretext to crack down on political opposition websites.

And I didn’t have to wait long for confirmation:

On Friday, a freedom of speech activist group reported that the Russian government has blocked access to a prominent blog-hosting service that carries many dissident voices from within the countries.

Back in the fall, the Kremlin put into place a much-derided-from-the-West “Internet blacklist.” When it was launched in November, Moscow blocked access to over 180 sites that it deemed were offensive to Russian interests. In particular, this blacklist was meant as a way to protect minors from pornography sites, sexual abuse sites, and sites that provide details about drug use and suicide.

. . . ., “a non-profit project created to support freedom of speech, civil society, and encourage the free exchange of ideas,” is reportedly used by Russian journalists who openly speak out against the Putin government, including Andrei Malgin and Vladimir Pribylovsky. The site “has been targeted for publishing a large database of government misdeeds and for disclosing official documents that expose corruption,” according to the American non-profit group, Access.

Access wrote Friday that the entire site has been blocked on at least one Russian ISP, RosTelekom, supposedly over alleged publication of child pornography (Google Translate).

The Russian police and security services are notorious for planting drugs on political opponents and others they want to frame.  Given that history, and the fact that the Russians have a very active cyberwarfare operation, I would bet dimes to donuts that they have and will plant incriminating material on servers to provide a justification for shutting down opposition sites.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happened here.

I am sure there will be much more of this to come.  Putin and the siloviki are engaged in a python strategy of gradually strangling the opposition.  It is taking it off the streets.  A group that remembers the subversive power of copy machines and faxes (samizdat) certainly understands the far greater subversive power of the Internet.  In their utter cynicism, they will exploit the natural revulsion against child pornography to control political content on the Internet.

PSA update: If you have Kaspersky software, you are an idiot. Kaspersky very tight with FSB. That is all.

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  1. @Professor-and thanks for this. I always wondered about Kaspersky and will check all my home computers tonight.

    Comment by pahoben — February 11, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

  2. @pahoben. Kaspersky warrants all the wondering you can muster. He and the FSB are in bed with one another. Ever notice that all of his big “discoveries” of viruses, etc., relate to US cyber warfare despite the fact that Russia and China are neck-and-neck in the cyberwar game? This is not a coincidence, comrade. He cannot operate in Russia without FSB protection. He is their creature.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 11, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

  3. I should have realized this and am ashamed to admit that I didn’t. I checked and fortunately no Kaspersky products on any computers.

    I checked the peess releases and found we can thank “Eugene” Kaspersky for warning the world about the most recent Flame virus.

    Comment by pahoben — February 11, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

  4. No reason to be ashamed pahoben. Kaspersky has done a great job at distancing himself and his company from its roots and associations. Which is precisely why he/it is dangerous, and why I brought it up: he has sort of wormed his way into the West, and (probably literally) into a lot of computers in the West. It irritates me no end that Kaspersky’s “discoveries” are reported breathlessly, and that no one ever asks why he never finds any Russian malware.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 11, 2013 @ 11:14 pm

  5. Should not forget that free and popular ZoneAlarm AV + FW also uses Kapersky engine

    Comment by Haidal — February 15, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

  6. That wasn’t a real squeeze, SWP. This is what he does when he means business:

    Comment by La Russophobe — February 18, 2013 @ 9:18 am

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