Seminar: Taking Back Control – Regulating the Internet

18 June @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm, Committee Room 8, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Vivki Ford

How Russia, the UK and EU member states are seeking to regulate the Internet

This Foreign Policy Centre and Article 19 seminar seeks to examine the similarities and differences between the approach being taken by Russia, the UK and a number of EU member states in managing the online lives of their citizens. The event will explore ways to tackle challenges related to protection of freedom of expression online.


  • Vicky Ford MP, Science and Technology Select Committee, APPG on Cyber Security
  • Sarkis Darbinyan, Co-Founder of Roskomsvoboda and Head of the Digital Rights Center
  • Alexander Isavnin, Internet Protection Society
  • Barbora Bukovska, Senior Director for Law and Policy, Article 19
  • James Ball, Author and Journalist


  • Ian Lucas MP, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee

The seminar will examine how Roskomnadzor, the Russian state censorship agency, operates a blacklist of websites and is extending the grounds for blocking content and outlets, including without a court order. Wikipedia, Facebook, LiveJournal, Twitter, Youtube and Vimeo have been blocked for short periods, while several online media outlets have been permanently blocked in an attempt to intimidate others into compliance. The event will address spread of self-censorship, pressure on individual Internet users, the impact of new laws restricting online ‘fake news’ and ‘disrespecting the state’ as well practical and legislative efforts to isolate the Russian internet.

The seminar will compare the situation in Russia with the debate in the UK around the recently published Online Harms White Paper that seeks to regulate harmful and illegal online content. The event will also explore legislation elsewhere in Europe including France’s law that empowers judges to remove ‘fake news’ from websites and the German ‘NetzDG’ law that holds social media firms responsible for immediately removing hateful expression.