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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

Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburgs answer to the United States popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genres authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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