|Russian Prime Minister Igor Sechin|
David Makarewicz, Contributing Writer
In a Wall Street Journal interview, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has publicly accused Google executives of causing the Egyptian revolution by manipulating the energies of the people. Although he did not specifically address Internet freedom in Russia, these statements may signal growing concern among Russian hardliners about the Internet’s role in global unrest.
The Russian government does not control the Internet the way it controls other forms of media. However, analysts say there are close allies of Putin who would like to impose controls similar to China’s in order to silence the criticism of the Russian establishment that flows freely on the Internet.
Google garnered a great deal of attention during the Egyptian revolution. A Google executive, Wael Ghoneim, was hailed as “The Man Who Inspired the Egyptian Revolt.”
Since the unrest broke out in the Middle East, China has tightened its control of the Internet even further. The Chinese government recently censored online discussions in which its citizens were attempting to organize a large protest in Shanghai. Additionally, the Chinese government has launched its own censored search engine as a response to Google pulling out of China last year.
The United States Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Michael Posner, characterizes the present state of Chinese censorship as intensifying but unsustainable.
David Makarewicz is an attorney specializing in internet law concerning privacy rights and copyright defense for websites and blogs. Visit his blog to keep up with breaking Internet news.