New law can disconnect Russia from internet

New law can disconnect Russia from internet
Russia wants to force companies like Google and Facebook to store information on servers in Russia. - Absurd, says IKT Director, Torgeir Waterhouse.

Today Russia implements a new law which means that Internet companies need to move data about Russian citizens, to Russian servers, otherwise they risk being blocked from the internet in Russia.

Russia thus widens its control of the internet and its citizens. The amendment forces companies from around the world who collect or process personal data to store information on servers located in Russia, writes Financial Times.

In addition, the law states that foreign companies should not own more than 20 percent of Russian media.

- In practice this means that if sites such as Facebook, Google or foreign sites are to be be available for Russians, servers have to be located in Russia. Operators who are not Russian must create economic activity in Russia to be available to Russian internet users, says Torgeir Waterhouse.

He says that Russia has created a legal framework allowing for disconnecting Russia from the Internet and ensure that Russians only have access to information that exists in Russia.

- They call it a security and privacy legislation. It's really quite absurd. This undermines the whole fundamental principle of the free and open web, where we as humans can use services and information around the world where it is published and made available as we want, he says.

Several affected companies have criticized Russia for helping the country's security service to monitor online communication.

- It has nothing to do with protection of information, as they say. They want foreign companies to put their servers on Russian territory because they want access to the information, says Andrei Soldatov, author of the forthcoming book "The Red Web", which is about data monitoring in Russia.

The amendment is vague and broad, but gives Russia the ability to block unwanted internet sites and services and fining them, writes Financial Times.

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