Russia President Putin signs “Sovereign Internet” law
Russian President Vladimir Putin on 2 May 2019 signed into law a “sovereign internet” bill which will allow Russian authorities to isolate the country’s internet. The move expands Government Control of Internet, is being publicly denounced by all rights groups in country.
- The text of the law was published on 1 May 2019 but it will not come into effect until November.
- Russian lawmakers support the new law as deeming it necessary to ensure security of Russia’s online networks.
- It 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.
- In March 2019, Putin signed another controversial law which allowed courts to fine and briefly jail people who showed disrespect towards authorities, and also block media for publishing “fake news”.
- These laws are part of an ongoing Kremlin clampdown on media and internet freedoms in which people are jailed even for sharing humorous memes.
- The move would also target largely Telegram (a popular messaging app) widely used by Russians.
- It is being criticized as a vaguely worded bill which gives new censorship powers to government monitors 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.
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.