For every step forward in the digital revolution comes a step back. Just last week, two retreats came in Russia and India. The potential value of the Internet, and its very freedom, is again shadowed by forces of authoritarianism and state control.
The first came Feb. 12 when the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, voted to approve on first reading a bill that would give the authorities more power to create a “sovereign Internet” — and possibly cut Russia off from the global networks. The legislation faces two more votes before it goes to the upper chamber, the Federation Council. But it marks the next step in efforts by President Vladimir Putin to control the nation’s digital pathways.