business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Some things, we all take for granted.

But we probably wouldn’t if we lived in the eastern European country of Belarus. reports that as the government there looks to crack down on the free sharing of information, residents of Belarus “are now forbidden from accessing foreign websites. Any citizen who breaks the new law is liable to face a fine of up to US$125 ... the Law states that the owners and administrators of Internet cafés or other places that offer access to the Internet might be found guilty of violating this Law and fined and their businesses might be closed if users of Internet services provided by these places are found visiting websites located outside of Belarus and if such behavior of the clients was not properly identified, recorded, and reported to the authorities.”

The story says that the government of Belarus has established a kind of “internet blacklist” that will scan and block objectionable sites, and that as a result of this policy, international companies are likely to firewall their services so that Belarusian citizens cannot access them, lest they be subject to fines and other penalties.

Eye-opening, huh? That such an approach is possible, even in 2012?

I thought it worth noting because today the nation’s first primary is taking place in New Hampshire. The race for the GOP nomination has become contentious, and probably presages a rancorous battle for the presidency that will take place in the fall between the Republican nominee and President Barack Obama.

But as bad as things get sometimes, things could get worse.

We could be living in Belarus.
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