The Twitter account @b0ltai has been, to put it lightly, nothing short of a pain in the ass for Kremlin officials. The Next Web describes the looseleaf group of hackers as a sort of Russian counterpart to Anonymous, posting leaks to “sensitive state documents,” among other kinds of Internet hell raising.
Here in the United States, users can still view @b0ltai’s Twitter stream (at least if they can read and understand Russian). But Twitter users in Russia no longer can. As of this week, the account has been blocked for local users.
The ban comes courtesy of the Russian government, according to GlobalVoices, which asked Twitter to block the account in question on July 25. The takedown request was documented on Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a collaborative effort between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and law programs at Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, and more to promote transparency from big online organizations like Google and Twitter.
According to the document, the censorship request was granted by a court in St. Petersburg. The grounds: A furtive lawsuit with an unnamed individual concerning “personal data.” Not much else is known.
The move should hardly come as a surprise. In November 2012, Russia passed a rather liberal Internet censorship law, which made it remarkably easy for regulators to put the clamps down on any site it pleases.