Kremlin takes on sweeping internet connection powers

The Kremlin has assumed sweeping new powers over internet connections in Russia, raising concerns from activists that they could be used to stifle dissent or shut the country off from the global web.

However, while a law authorising the measures came into force on Friday, experts say Russia is still months away at best from effective implementation. Only seven of the 26 requisite bylaws have been passed and early tests of the technology required to create Russia’s “sovereign internet” have failed.

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Russia internet: Law introducing new controls comes into force
A law introducing new controls on the internet has come into force in Russia amid concerns it may be used by the government to silence its critics.

In theory, the “sovereign internet” law gives officials wide-ranging powers to restrict traffic on the Russian web.

The Kremlin has said the law will improve cyber security. A spokesman said users would not notice any change.

Critics fear the Kremlin will try to create an internet firewall similar to that in China.

Experts say it is unclear how the powers of the controversial law might be used, or how effectively they can be implemented given the technology challenges and high costs.

Russia enacts 'sovereign internet' law, free speech activists cry foul
A law known as the “sovereign internet” bill came into force on Friday in Russia, tightening state control over the global network, which free speech activists say will strengthen government oversight of the country’s cyberspace.

The legislation aims to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by state authorities and to build a national Domain Name System to allow the internet to continue working even if Russia is cut off from foreign infrastructure.

Russia’s law that lets it disconnect from the internet comes into force today
The news: The law, which was signed by President Putin in May,  gives Russia’s telecommunications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, the power to block access to content that the government sees as a security threat. (We wrote about what Russia is planning in more detail earlier this year. Read that piece here.) The goal is to make Russia’s internet independent and easier to defend against attacks from abroad.

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