Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski late on Wednesday called Russian legislation to blacklist certain websites a "troubling and dangerous" direction for Internet freedom.
The State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, approved a bill on Wednesday that would give the government the authority to require Internet service providers to and hosting companies to block certain websites or risk being blacklisted themselves.
The legislation is billed as a move to crack down on websites that feature things such as child pornography, drug material, or advice on suicide, but Genachowski said if made law, it could stifle the growth of the Internet and free speech in Russia.
"While protecting children online is a legitimate governmental concern, the Duma's bill, in its current form, could lead to restricting access to valuable Internet content and services and chilling innovation, economic opportunity, as well as free expression," he said in a statement.
Russia isn't the only country to wrestle with security versus civil liberties online.
Congress has faced blowback for proposals to loosen privacy laws to boost cybersecurity efforts; require ISPs to hold onto user information for longer so police can track child pornographers; and give law enforcement more tools to combat online piracy.
And Genachowski himself has faced criticism from conservatives for enacting FCC rules to prevent anticompetitive behavior online.
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