Thousands Protest At Russian Internet Restrictions

Legislation designed to tighten controls of the Internet in Russia, drew thousands of protesters onto the street of Moscow at the weekend.

The legislation has already been approved by Russian lawmakers, but has to pass through a couple of other stages before it becomes law.

Russia is not the only country seeking to tighten online controls, with a number of Western countries already implementing tighter controls. The UK for example passed the controversial Investigatory Powers Act, commonly known as the Snoopers’ Charter, into law back in 2016.

Russia protests

Russian lawmakers on the other hand last month backed tighter internet controls contained in legislation they believe is necessary to prevent foreign meddling in Russia’s affairs.

According to Reuters, officials are seeking to increase Russian “sovereignty” over its Internet presence.

The legislation wants to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by the Russian government.

The bill also proposes building a national Domain Name System to allow the internet to continue functioning even if the country is cut off from foreign infrastructure.

The bill has reportedly also been passed in the Russian parliament on the first reading out of three. A second reading will take place in March, and if it passes again, the upper house of the parliament will need to sign it off, before President Vladimir Putin officially rubber stamps it.

But an estimated 15,300 people protested at the weekend in Moscow and reportedly made speeches on a stage and chanted slogans such as “hands off the internet” and “no to isolation, stop breaking the Russian internet”.

“If we do nothing it will get worse. The authorities will keep following their own way and the point of no return will be passed”, said 28-year-old protester Dmitry, who declined to give his full name to Reuters.

Moscow authorities said the protest only involved 6,500 people, and a number of arrests are said to have taken place.

Other authorised protests took place in the cities of Voronezh and Khabarovsk. An unauthorised protest took place in St. Petersburg.

Russia controls

Russia it should be remembered has already banned the use of messaging app Telegram in the country.

That decision was taken by Russian authorities after the app refused to give Russian state security services access to its users’ secret messages by handing over encryption keys used to scramble the messages.

And Russia’s regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) has for some now been pressuring foreign social networking firms such as Facebook, to store user data on servers located within Russian jurisdiction.

It has also passed laws to require search engines to delete some search results.

Do you know all about IT and the law? Take our quiz.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

Google Must Face Trial In Ad Tech Monopoly Case

Google loses bid for summary judgement as judge says 'too many facts in dispute' as…

3 hours ago

Silicon In Focus Podcast: Feeding the Machine

Learn how your business can meet the challenges associated with managing data across multiple platforms…

3 hours ago

Apple, Meta Likely To Face EU Antitrust Charges

Apple, Facebook parent Meta reportedly likely to face EU antitrust charges before August under new…

3 hours ago

Adobe Shares Jump On AI Success

Adobe shares post biggest gains in more than four years after it reports user take-up…

4 hours ago

Winklevoss’ Gemini To Pay $50m In Crypto Fraud Settlement

Winklevoss twins' Gemini Trust to pay $50m to settle cypto fraud claims over failed Gemini…

4 hours ago

Meta Delays EU AI Launch After Privacy Complaints

Meta delays Europe launch of AI in Europe after user, privacy group complaints over plans…

5 hours ago