Putin is one of the most vilified political leaders of the recent period, and often for compelling reasons. Most of the Russian political power is arguably held in Putin’s hands and he probably had a lot to say in regards to the new law adopted by the Russian Duma. On the 4th of July, The Russian Parliament passed a law restricting internet traffic by requiring the Russian citizens’ personal data to be stored on servers present on Russian territory. The law will apply starting with 2016. The Russian Government wants a piece of data cake from Facebook, Twitter, and the likes, as Russian bloggers claims, according to Reuters. The databases will serve them to increase control and impose strict behavior by forbidding criticisms. Putin argues the law is meant to protect Russian citizens from online criminal activities. Well, it is true that AT&T suffered a data breach in May which exposed millions of user’s banking data.
Law restricting internet angers Russian bloggers
“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.”, blogger Anton Nossik explained to Reuters. It is not the Russian Government’s first step in this direction. A short while ago the authorities imposed new rules obliging bloggers with more than 3000 online visits per day to register with a communications watchdog. The worried human rights activists are joined in their protests by Russia’s Association of Electronic Communication, IndiaTimes reports. They claim that ‘many global Internet services would be impossible’.
The measure might look anachronistic, but it puts the finger on a thorny issue. Fact is that the majority of the internet data is stored on US servers. What it means is that the companies who manage the data comply to US regulations. Although the internet project started in the US, it now achieved an undeniable global characteristic. It seems only fair that an international body, such as a UN of the Internet should be able to democratically regulate what happens to the data. The US authorities announced in March that the US based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will give up its role in internet regulation in 2015.
The Russian response by passing a law restricting internet is a backward measure most probably loaded with other internal political meaning, but it should be counteracted with a more constructive approach. Simply bashing a clearly retrograde politician will not solve the issue, but it would rather obfuscate it. A global association working to provide a global framework for internet regulation should be able to avert such vicious laws.