Russian system ‘Oculus’ to scan internet for LGBTQ content and Anti-War Dissent

Russia has established a system that will scan the internet for unlawful information, making it simpler for police to detect unofficial protests, anti-war dissent, and “LGBT propaganda,” according to officials on Monday. According to Interfax, the “Oculus” technology will be able to read language and spot illicit scenes in photos and movies, evaluating more than 200,000 images per day at a rate of around three seconds per image.

Since sending armed forces into Ukraine in February, Moscow has stifled political opposition and independent media within Russia that had survived earlier crackdowns, as well as emphasized a conservative, nationalist narrative that frowns on “non-traditional” lives and orientations.

Oculus “automatically detects violations such as extremist content, calls for illegal mass gatherings or suicide, pro-drug content, LGBT propaganda, and so on,” the Main Radio Frequency Centre (MRFC), part of Roskomnadzor, told Interfax.

“Fakes” have proliferated and expanded at an unprecedented rate since the commencement of the special military operation in Ukraine, it said, trying to substitute actual facts with a specifically fabricated reality.

“The development of this system is our response to foreign resources’ provocations and anti-Russian measures.”

Russia has accused the West of spreading false information about its “special military operation” in Ukraine in order to discredit Russia’s armed forces.

Last year, it introduced legislation imposing fines on anybody who spread such information and cracked down on social media sites and news outlets that shared anything that contradicted Moscow’s official stance on the conflict. All of Russia’s television channels are state-owned and strictly adhere to the government’s narrative.

Another new law imposes fines on anyone or organization found to be promoting “LGBT propaganda,” a move that critics argue criminalizes any public mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons who live what are officially referred to as “non-traditional” lifestyles.