GitHub is complying with a takedown notice from the Russian government to keep the online repository accessible to users in that country.
GitHub was entirely blocked in Russia earlier this week after the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) found the network was hosting content that’s illegal in Russia, the website reported. The content in question are manuals in the Russian language purporting to endorse suicide. Because of the way GitHub is set up, Roskomnadzor didn’t just block access to manuals, but the entire site.
GitHub is now complying with Roskomnadzor with one condition. The network is preserving all block requests in a repository in an effort to maintain transparency. The repository’s Readme states that while GitHub may not agree with the takedown, it will “respect the country’s sovereignty and recognize that Russians may have different cultural sensitivities.”
“We are concerned about Internet censorship, and believe that transparency is a virtue. By posting the notices here, we can better inform the public about what content is being withheld from GitHub, and why,” it said.
When the announcement was posted on Hacker News, Russian speaking commenters wrote that the suicide manuals were written in a very satirical way, perhaps to get the attention of Roskomnadzor and to defend free speech for Russians.
“All these suicide manuals—trolling,” wrote commenter wildchild. “Someone trolled github by submitting suicidal texts in order to get it blocked, because morons from roskomnadzor will block such sites immediately without judgement and investigation.”
Lead image by Will Ockende.