State Illegally Blocked 85,000 Websites, Study Says

About 85,000 websites ended up on the Internet blacklist over the past year, 98 percent of them blocked without a valid reason, a new study said.

Since November 2012, Russian state agencies have been able to block without a court order websites they deem to be promoting suicide or illegal drugs, or disseminating child porn. This is often done using a website's numerical IP address, routinely shared by dozens of sites, all of which end up on the blacklist if one of them is banned.

The government blocked 741 IP addresses over the past year, affecting 83,000 websites, according to a study by Rublacklist.net, an independent online watchdog.

Another 1,392 were blacklisted by their unique domain names, said the study, released Tuesday.