Russia tightens grip on internet passing bill to prevent personal data being 'given to US criminals'
New move will require international websites to set up servers within the country
Russia has moved one step closer to having insurmountable power over its citizens’ access to the internet, after its parliament passed a bill requiring all personal data be stored within the country.
It means that sites and tech firms such as Google and Facebook may have to establish servers within the country or face being expunged.
The Kremlin says that the move is for data protection purposes only in a bid to avoid sensitive information being sent to the US and “given to criminals.”
Introducing the bill to the State Duma on Tuesday, MP Vadim Dengin said: “Most Russians don't want their data to leave Russia for the United States, where it can be hacked.
“Our entire lives are stored over there,” he adds, the BBC reports.
The move could mean that international websites and apps used by people in Russia could become severely limited to them, with non-Russian firms disallowed from sending information outside its borders.
Due to be implemented in September 2016, the law is seen by critics as an attack on social networks, on the power of public dissemination as well as on free speech.
READ MORE: Russian ban on swearing comes into effect amid criticism
Anyone sharing posts judged 'extremist' in Russia faces jail
Russian policewomen to be disciplined for short skirts
“The aim of this law is to create ... (another) quasi-legal pretext to close Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other services,” internet expert and blogger Anton Nossik told Reuters.
“The ultimate goal is to shut mouths, enforce censorship in the country and shape a situation where Internet business would not be able to exist and function properly.”
The bill must be approved by the upper chamber and President Vladimir Putin before it becomes law.
The tightened grip over internet freedoms is a similar move to that of China’s Great Firewall, where residents and foreigners use proxies and VPNs (virtual private networks) to reroute their information and get around controls.
Officials in Russia also say that the move will protect children from indecent content.
It comes after a law earlier this year which gave authorities the power to limit and remove websites which it deems extremist.
President Putin also approved a law to establish criminal responsibility on those who send or share text, pictures or videos that the government believes falls foul of its policies.
In April Mr Putin called the internet a “CIA project.”
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 5 Modern society encapsulated in five seconds
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
Iran nuclear talks: Prospect of deal with Iran pushes Saudi Arabia and Israel into an unlikely alliance
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£30,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a perso...
£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...
£55,000 - £65,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accountant with ...
£45,000 - £55,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified accountant...