Veterans demanded Roskomnadzor and Prosecutor’s Office to close petition site Change.org
The Commonwealth of veterans' organizations of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region Za drugi svoya (For our friends) has sent official requests to Roskomnadzor and the Prosecutor’s Office demanding to block access to the petition website Change.org for Russian citizens.
According to the veterans, the Internet portal has been illegally collecting personal data of the Russian citizens and employing vote rigging for politically important petitions, Znak.com reports.
As it became known to journalists, the corresponding letters have been sent on behalf of the Chairman of veterans’ commonwealth Valentin Botsvin. According to him, the organization requires Roskomnadzor to block access to the Change.org and ensure its organizers accountability for the collection of personal data of Russians. Botsvin admitted that he has yet to receive a response to the requests sent out a few weeks ago.
"Petitions are beneficial. It is kind of a moral factor; they help us realize where we are. Assistance to Levada-Center, if you will. Our goal is to have such Internet platforms registered in the Russian Federation and be controlled by patriotic citizens. I think many will be surprised that Change.org is not controlled by the Russian authorities. A lot of things are controlled from abroad, and not by our friends or even neutral people," he explained.
Botsvin stressed that, according to his information, the management of Change.org tracks politically important petitions, in particular, those relating to the resignation of high-ranking officials and security forces, and influences their results by increasing or decreasing the number of signatures.
It should be noted that the now former Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation Pavel Astakhov had already drawn attention to the problem of foreign registration of the Internet portal, on which signatures on petitions related to the social and political life of Russia are collected.
"Change.org is registered in San Francisco; do we have to express our opinion on the US site? It is visited by a large number of electronic bots, who do not need to register", Astakhov explained, when the public was demanding his resignation.
The online petition website management responded to Astakhov’s accusations. The Change.org Director in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Dmitry Savelov said that signature verification is of utmost priority for the company. According to him, security system checks every signature under each published petition and deletes suspicious signatures within a day.
One of the loudest petitions recently posted on Change.org has been the appeal for the resignation of the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, signed by more than 277,000 people.
The petition appeared after Medvedev recommended teachers, who get insufficient funds, to find a part-time job or go into business. "The Council of Ministers should be headed by a competent and educated man, who cares about the country. What we observe now is a vice versa", as said in the appeal to Prime Minister’s resignation.
Commenting on the online petition, the Kremlin said it has not had the opportunity to familiarize with it. However, Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said the objective to increase teachers’ income to the level of the average regional salary is still relevant.
August 2, during his speech at the forum Territoriya smyslov na Klyazme (Territory of meanings on the Klyazma), in his response to a question about the low level of income of young teachers posed by a Dagestan university teacher, Medvedev recommended him to find an extra job; he also hinted that there are many places where it is faster and better to make money. At the same time, he explained the high earnings of security forces by the dangers of their occupation.