The blog of vocal anti-Kremlin opposition activist Alexei Navalny has been blocked on the mobile app of Russian social networking service LiveJournal since yesterday. Attempts to access the blog on the app produces an error message explaining that the page has been blocked according to the decision of the Russian authorities. Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor added Navalny’s blog to a register of banned sites in March this year after accusing it of publishing extremist material, however the blog has been accessible in Russian territory on LiveJournal’s app despite its website ban.
Network operators in Russia are technically unable to limit access to individual blogs within mobile apps, however they do have the power to restrict access to entire websites.
Vadim Ampelonsky, spokesperson from Roskomnadzor, told Vedomosti: “At the moment we do not require network operators to perform such an action. If LiveJournal decides to limit access to the information which is recognised by Russia’s General Prosecutor as illegal, including in mobile apps, we’d welcome it.”
Until now, apps have been considered impervious to the website-blocking power of Roskomnadzor, however some now fear that even without technology to control material on apps, the Russian government is finding other ways to exert control on the exchange of information on apps.