RUSSIA’S NEW ‘SOVEREIGN BILL’ COULD GIVE THE COUNTRY ITS OWN GREAT FIREWALL
The world is well aware of China’s Great Firewall, which gives its government total power over the dissemination of content. Anything which falls outside the state parties’ propaganda is blocked or purged from the internet. Now we hear that a similar kind of situation could potentially be brewing in Russia as well.
President Vladimir Putin is proposing a “Sovereign Bill” which will let hub officials control the flow of information in the country. While the official version of the bill is to counter a cyber strategy the US adopted last year against the Kremlin, it is believed that the bill could be used to stifle political and civil unrest in the country.
The report by Bloomberg states that the bill has been made to create a single command post where the relevant authorities will be able to manage the content on the internet. The bill would also give these authorities, the metaphorical ‘killswitch’ to shut down any information deemed harmful for the government.
Russia has been internal criticism for blocking Telegram and streaming website Twitch, and since the re-election victory, Putin’s public support has reportedly been in a downslide. Russia ranks quite poorly in terms of internet freedom as well according to research done by Freedom House.
Andrei Lugovoi, who has co-authored this bill said as per the report, that officials have “absolutely no clue about the communications networks laid in Russia and cross-border connections—who owns them, how they’re used, what kind of information is sent.” He continued by saying that once the monitoring hub is set up, “we’ll be able to see all this online.”
It remains to be seen what exactly will this “Sovereign Bill” will be used for in Russia. At the moment we can only guess.
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