-Russia eyes “technological independence” again
Developments on cybersecurity and freedom of Internet access continue to sit on top of Russia’s agenda.
Last week saw a new law enacted that requires Russia to have its own independent Internet network, Runet, to eliminate risks against cyber threats. The new legislation will require the installation of traffic filtering systems in operator networks to counter cyber-hazards.
The new legislation is in response to Russian authority concerns of the U.S.' dominant position on the global Internet, while the Russian public is concerned that freedom of access to the Internet will be restricted.
Under the new law, the Russian Federal Radio and Television Supervisory Board (Roskomnadzor) will provide the new systems to operators while the state budget will cover the costs for installation and maintenance.
In the event of threats to Russia’s Internet security, the law will allow the passing of control of the centralized network over to Roskomnadzor, who can then record detailed information about Internet users in the country.
The list of threats has yet to be approved.
Some experts warn that the law could make internet censorship much more stringent in the country.
Russia has allocated a budget of approximately 20 billion rubles for the “localization” of the Internet in the country, which is expected to become fully operational in 2021.
In another development, the lower wing of the Russian parliament Duma adopted a bill to ban the sale of smartphones and computers that do not have Russian software.
According to the Duma bill, all smartphones, computers and smart televisions sold in the country will have to work with Russian software as factory settings.
Duma deputy Alexey Kanayev argues the step will make Russian IT companies more competitive and protect consumer rights.
The bill needs approval from the Federation Council and then by Russian President Vladimir Putin before becoming law.
The discussion to include Russian-made search engine and messaging applications in foreign-origin phones sold in Russia was also discussed earlier this year. While Russian technology companies such as Yandex and Mail.ru support the initiative, companies such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei oppose it.