The U.S. has ceased to be the exclusive domain for hosting of the sites of a clearly criminal, racist or porno content. The results of a recent research show that an increasingly greater number of such web-pages is stored on Russian servers.
According to Internet Watch Foundation (the IWF), an organization preventing illegal internet activity, about 55% of all traced sites with illegal-content were placed on hosting servers of American providers in 2003. However, in 2004 this parameter decreased to 40%. At the same time the number of such sites located in Russia grew from 23% in 2003 to 31% in 2004. In a number of countries of the Asian-Pacific region, such as China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, an increasing number of instances of illegal-content web-pages has also been registered.
In the IWF they connect such relocation of sites to a considerably larger number of free-of-charge hosting opportunities given to moneymakers involved in illegal business in the above-mentioned countries. They upload, say, a content for pedophiles to servers located in the countries where the free-of-charge hosting is prevalent - and this tendency is only being aggravated. We believe that in countries like Thailand, Russia and Spain free hosting services can potentially be used for storing intentionally illegal content, is written in the organization's annual report.
the IWF experts also point to the reducing number of reports about web-pages potentially dangerous to society. Their quantity dropped from the 20 thousand in 2003 down to a bit more than 17,000 in 2004. These statistics do not imply a reduction of the proportion of illegal internet content, last year the IWF initiated a record number of litigations against the holders of illegal sites. The IWF's annual report indicates a 10% increase in the amount of the illegal content stored on the internet, the persistent demand for which is the cause of such an upsurge.
"The crime rate in this country, unfortunately, remains high. However, the constant mentioning of 'Russian traces' in international crime becomes a platitude." - Timur Aitov, Business Research & Development Manager with RBK SOFT, says: "Apparently it is also possible to spot sites with pages containing 'criminal, racist or pornographic' content in Russia though it's unlikely that Russia currently has enough free hosting capacity for 31% of the world's total number of sites offering illegal content."