Russians to protest against new ‘internet sovereignty’ bill

Russians to protest against new ‘internet sovereignty’ bill

In Moscow today, thousands will protest Russian President Vladamir Putin’s internet sovereignty bill that is currently before the lower house

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Photo: Reuters

In Moscow today, thousands will protest Russian President Vladamir Putin’s internet sovereignty bill that is currently before the lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly.

Following the passing of bills illegalising the broadcast of “fake” and “disrespectful” news on Thursday, Putin’s internet sovereignty bill mandates that internet data runs through a state-controlled Domain Name System. Thus, Moscow could ban unsuitable content and even shutdown the internet in Russia.

Proponents believe that this would protect against cyberattacks. More importantly, they advocate that the Domain Name System could prevent the dissemination of “fake” and “disrespectful” information capable of triggering social unrest.

However, protestors are concerned that Putin will use this bill to disallow the dissemination of any news critical of government. Last October, the Kremlin managed to block all internet accessed through smartphones in the Caucasus region when thousands of Muslims protested against the government.

Expect the internet sovereignty bill to pass despite the protest. Given the shortage of domestic technological expertise required for such an infrastructure, do not expect any enforcement of the bill in the short-term.

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