World

Kremlin Brings China's Great Firewall To Russia

| by Oren Peleg

The Kremlin has moved to exert greater state control over the Internet in Russia. The nation is partnering with China to develop a network that limits and monitors Internet activities among Russians.

The so-called “Red Web” will be incorporating elements of the “Great Firewall” that the Chinese government has used for years to limit and monitor its own citizens’ activities on the net.

According to the Guardian, in April, top Chinese and Russian Internet officials met for a “Cybersecurity” forum. The meeting included Fang Binxing, known as the father of China’s Great Firewall.

“China remains our only serious ‘ally’, including in the IT sector,” a source in the Russian IT sector stated.

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In June, the Kremlin passed Yarovaya’s Law, which requires Russian Internet companies to store six months-worth of users’ data and three years worth of users’ metadata. In addition, websites such as LinkedIn have been blocked.

"[Russian communications regulating agency] Roskomnadzor's action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses," a LinkedIn spokeswoman said, reports Reuters.

“It's a game,” Andrei Soldatov, a Russian surveillance culture expert, said, notes the Washington Post. “They expect LinkedIn to rush to the Kremlin for talks.”

Discussing the recent actions of the Kremlin, Soldatov added, “[t]he aim is surveillance, obviously — to make servers of the companies accessible to the Russian national system of online surveillance, SORM, and also to get the Internet giants effectively landed in Russia.”

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But, according to an October poll conducted by the Levada Center, 60 percent of Russians believe Internet censorship is necessary, notes the Washington Post. 25 percent opposed the censorship, with the remaining 15 percent either “didn’t know” or didn’t answer. 

Sources: The Guardian, Reuters, Washington Post, (2) / Photo Credit: Valeriy Tarasov /Instagram

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