Before we jump into Russia, let’s talk about the tech giants and how the Tech Giants never miss a chance to stay in trouble and that too is major trouble. After Facebook making a device that will read your mind or a tech brawl between Apple and Facebook, or Facebook back to back lawsuits over security and privacy breaches. The Tech Giants should actually stay under the limelight so that the layman can talk about those over their social media accounts. Ironic!
Russia to Ban Facebook, Twitter, and Facebook
Well now under recent developments, the Russian lawmakers on Wednesday moved a step closer to allowing regulators to block Internet platforms like Facebook and YouTube if they are deemed to have censored content produced by Russians.
According to draft legislation submitted to parliament Thursday, the bill explains that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Foreign Ministry would be able to identify foreign platforms they view as violating Russians’ rights by restricting content. That designation would allow Russia’s federal media watchdog Roskomnadzor to fully or partially block the platform in Russia.
The bill’s explanatory note singles out tech sites including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter for having “censored” the accounts of Russian state-run news outlets including RT, RIA Novosti, and Crimea 24 since April. Facebook and Twitter began labeling state-affiliated media accounts this summer, months after Alphabet’s YouTube introduced similar labels.
“The urgency in adopting the draft law,” says a Reuters translation of the explanatory note, “is due to numerous cases of unjustified restriction of Russian citizens’ access to information in the Russian media.”
The legislation now needs to get approval from the House Federation Board before President Vladimir Putin signs it to law, steps that are considered formalities.
Has the Russian Bill already passed?
The legislation has already been passed by the lower house of the parliament (State Duma). A statement from the country’s parliament says the relevant authorities would not pardon any company if they limit information based on language/nationality. For those who are unaware, the Russian parliament is termed the Federal Assembly. It has two main houses- Upper (Federation Council), Lower (State Duma). For legislation to turn into a law, it needs to get the approval of these two houses and the consent of the President. Out of this, the above-mentioned legislation will be up for approval at the Federation Council now.
The Kremlin in recent years has increased its efforts to control the Russian segment of the Internet under the pretext of fighting online extremism. In 2018 regulators ordered the encrypted Messenger Service “Telegraph” which will be blocked, although the effort ended earlier this year after the Co-Founder Pavel Durov reported on steps to fight extremism.
A Moscow court had also fined Google last week because it did not record online content which was prohibited by Russian authorities, the latest in a series of increased penalties. In February a Moscow court was fined Twitter and Facebook for ignoring Russian laws which required them to store data from Russian people in the country.
Moscow against the US cybersecurity policies
Last year, Russia had also passed a “sovereign internet” law tightening state control of web traffic in response to what Moscow called an aggressive U.S. cybersecurity strategy. Free speech activists criticized the law, saying it could allow the authorities to restrict access to information at will.
Russia has been stepping up its efforts to control the Russian content on the internet, supposedly under the impression to “Combat Online Extremism” in recent years. But, if the legislature approves the ban imposition. The people of Russia have to live without some main social media apps!