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Russian parliamentarians have passed legislation that will establish a central register of banned websites. The new laws are ostensibly designed for child protection, but Andrei Soldatov says the real aim is to take control over the country’s burgeoning social networks
Internet access in educational institutions must be under control, said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko as he addressed educators on 29 August. Lukashenko said they and teachers should pay close attention to communication among young people online, primarily on social networks, which he labelled “a dangerous weapon” that could be used for “destructive purposes.”
Activists used popular Russian social network, Vkontakte, and Twitter hashtag, #2206v1900, to organise protest action in towns all over Belarus on 22 June. Over 1, 000 people gathered for a rally in Minsk despite warnings to would-be protesters from local police about “possible administrative charges for participating in unsanctioned protests”. Throughout the day Vkontakte group, “Movement of the Future”, with over 200, 000 members, tweeted regularly. A total of 450 protesters were arrested during the “silent” anti-government demonstrations, many remain in detention.
Surveillance and spamming — how the Syria’s embattled regime and its supporters battle protesters on social media. Jillian C York reports