Russia’s Pirate Party bans govt officials from new hosting site



Activists from Russia’s unregistered Pirate Party said their new hosting site will block visitors from IP addresses belonging to government agencies and other state bodies, and vowed to create a “blacklist” of persons known for pro-copyright stances.

The Pirate Party announced the initiative in a press release; in it, they claimed that there is no such thing as illegal information, but there is information that some state officials or corporate executives want to hide or restrict.

The activists also argued that the deteriorating state of freedom of information in Russia demanded immediate action, and announced a plan to “clean the web of parasites.” This includes the blocking of all IP addresses associated with state agencies and pro-copyright organizations, especially Russia’s Safe Internet League.

The main idea behind the project is that if potential opponents of the freedom of information cannot access sites that are hosted by pirates, they will not have the legal justification to demand their closure.

The new hosting will offer services to anyone except those that the Pirate Party considers cyber-criminals — those who use it for spamming, phishing, carding and child pornography. The party vowed to ban such accounts without warning.

The party also asked those who share their views — or simply want to get even with their bosses at work — to report the IP addresses of the abovementioned users, and to identify IPs that are used by civil servants.

The idea is a controversial one, primarily due to the fact that according to new Russian laws, state consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor can block websites containing banned information at any level, including the provider’s, allowing site owners to contest the ban in court.

Authorities could therefore completely block the pirate hosting and its owners would be culpable, and required to disclose information on their website in court.

The Pirate Party openly declared that their project was a response to an initiative launched by the Safe Internet League, which requires providers in Central Russia’s Kostroma region to allow access only to websites handpicked by the league’s experts. Users who want to browse beyond these limits would have to apply for permission.

The pirate hosting allows its users to get an anonymous server, virtual or dedicated. The service also reportedly includes legal support against copyright claims and if the need arises, protection against DDOS attacks or other hacker activities.

The hosting is a paid service with an as-yet-unannounced price structure. All revenues will be used for Pirate Party fundraising, the statement said.

This is not the first anti-copyright project by Russia’s Pirate Party. In November, the group launched the RosKomSvoboda (‘Russian Freedom Committee’) service, which collects data on various sites blocked by the recently launched state register and suggests ways to bypass the restrictions and access the banned sites.

The Pirate Party has attempted to officially register with the Russian Justice Ministry after party registration rules were eased in 2012, but their application was turned down. Authorities said the name of the organization was the reason for the rejection, explaining that sea piracy is a criminal offense in Russia and therefore cannot be promoted.