On January 6, 2012 a new amendment to a law restricting Internet access in Belarus came into force. According to the Global Legal Monitor (of the Law Library of the US Congress) the law “imposes restrictions on visiting and/or using foreign websites by Belarusian citizens and residents. Violation of these rules is recognized as a misdemeanor and is punished by fines of up to US$125”.
The Law requires that all companies and individuals who are registered as entrepreneurs in Belarus use only domestic Internet domains for providing online services, conducting sales, or exchanging email messages.
The Law states that the owners and administrators of Internet cafés or other places that offer access to the Internet have to prevent users from visiting websites located outside of Belarus. If visitors still doesn’t apply this behavior has to be reported to the authorities. Already previously a passport has been needed to use Internet in Internet cafés. According to some sources the new amendment also applies to shared connections (for example, in an apartment building) and private citizens allowing others to use their home computers for browsing the Internet.
The Law mentions pornographic websites and sites that contain information of an extremist nature as examples of those to be blocked by the authorities.