Russia’s FSB Branch Authorized to Block Websites Without a Court Order

A newly formed Federal Security Service (FSB) cybersecurity branch will gain the power to block websites without a court order, Russia’s national domain coordinator announced Tuesday.

The FSB branch joins the ranks of several IT firms, as well as the state media watchdog Roskomnadzor, that hunt down websites that spread malware and are used for other illicit activities.

The FSB’s cybersecurity coordination center has signed a deal last Tuesday to combat attacks within the .ru domain name, the domain coordinator, the Coordination Center for TLD RU, said in the announcement.

“[The FSB cybersecurity center’s] many years of experience and professionalism will complement the institute’s competent organizations and make Russian domain space even more secure,” said the head of the nonprofit, Andrei Vorobyov.

The FSB’s coordination center was established to prevent cyberattacks in September 2018.

Under Russia’s law on “information protection,” websites can be blocked without a court order by the country’s police, consumer protection watchdog, tax service, alcohol regulator and Roskomnadzor. This year, the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh) was added the list of agencies authorized to blacklist websites that incite juvenile crime or threaten young people’s lives.

Offending websites can be legally blocked under amendments to Russia’s information law that President Vladimir Putin signed in December 2018.

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