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Sovereign Internet Bill

Context: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a “sovereign internet” bill.

Key features:

  • The measures include creating technology to monitor internet routing and to steer Russian internet traffic away from foreign servers, ostensibly to prevent a foreign country from shutting it down.
  • The bill created a system that gives the authorities the capacity to block access to parts of the Internet in Russia.
  • Under the new law Russian Internet access providers will also need to ensure that their networks have the technical means for “centralised traffic control” to counter potential threats.

Rationale behind:

  • The government defended the legislation as a defensive move in case the United States would cut Russia off from the global Internet. Also, Russia must ensure its networks security after US President Donald Trump unveiled a new American cybersecurity strategy in 2018 which accused Russia of carrying out cyber-attacks with impunity.

The bill is being publicly denounced by all rights groups in country. Why?

  • Because the move includes measures such as to create technology to monitor internet routing, to steer Russian internet traffic away from foreign servers, allegedly to prevent a foreign country from shutting it down. It is being alleged that these laws clampdown on media and internet freedoms.
  • It is also being criticized as a vaguely worded bill which gives new censorship powers to government and is aimed at restricting information and communication online.
  • It will allow greater surveillance by Russian intelligence agencies, and increase ability of state authorities to control information.

Concerns:

  • In recent years Russian authorities have blocked online sites and content linked to the opposition, as well as internet services which fail to cooperate with them, including the Dailymotion video platform, the Linkedin online social networking site and the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

Current Affairs 2020

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