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Ministry Seeks to Shield Children From Public Wi-Fi

Published: October 5, 2012 (Issue # 1729)



  • A recent proposal related to the new Internet-blocking law would prohibit access to public Wi-Fi for minors.
    Photo: Maxim Stulov / Vedomosti

MOSCOW The Communications and Press Ministry has proposed banning children from using Wi-Fi networks in public, potentially making cafes, restaurants and other locations providing the service responsible for enforcing the law.

An official with the ministrys Federal Mass Media Inspection Service, known as Roskomnadzor, said the ban should apply to people under 18 years old.

Locations providing Wi-Fi access would be held legally responsible for implementing the rule, and failing to meet the proposed measure would result in a fine ranging from 20,000 rubles to 50,000 rubles ($640 to $1,600), Vedomosti reported Thursday.

In Moscow alone, thousands of cafes, fast-food outlets and restaurants, as well as many parks, shopping malls and hotels, have Wi-Fi networks, which let laptop and handheld-computer users go online without a cable or modem.

Maxim Ksenzov, one of the watchdogs deputy directors, announced the plan at a Wednesday conference with Internet media representatives, Vedomosti reported, citing participants in the conference.

Ksenzov said the proposal is tied to the Internet restriction law that comes into effect Nov. 1, allowing the government to block Web pages that fit the laws definition of material harmful to child welfare.

Under that law, the government can force websites, website-hosting companies and Internet service providers to block offending sites.

Watchdog spokesman Vladimir Pikov told RIA-Novosti the service hasnt decided whether Wi-Fi providers or owners of businesses offering their own Wi-Fi would be responsible under the law.

Citizens are no longer considered minors in Russia when they reach the age of 18, but people can obtain permission from regional authorities to marry at 16 and can get a motorcycle license at that age.

At national cafe chain Shokoladnitsa, there are no methods at present that make it possible to identify the age of users logging on to the free Wi-Fi in our shops, said Gennady Sbytov, the company's vice president for information technology.

We see a solution to the [broader] issue in restricting access to certain web portals, in accordance with the law, for all guests, he said by e-mail. That way, Wi-Fi access would remain available.

Sbytov said any Wi-Fi restriction at Shokoladnitsa would happen only if required by law.

Also affected by the proposal would be other major food chains providing free Wi-Fi, such as Subway, McDonald's and Kofe Khaus.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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