Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The Russian Parliament passed worrying laws that will certainly have a chilling effect on free speech in Russia. Now these laws are in effect and certainly prove to be useful to the government in stamping out dissent and non-sanctioned information.
BBC news reports bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern the country’s larger media outlets.
Internet companies will also be required to allow Russian authorities access to users’ information.
The law includes measures to ensure that bloggers cannot remain anonymous, and states that social networks must maintain six months of data on its users. The information must be stored on servers based in Russian territory, so that government authorities can gain access.
Earlier in the year, Russia enacted a law that gave the government powers to block websites without explanation.
In March, Moscow blocked two news sites and an organization run by Garry Kasparov – a vocal critic of the Russian government.
In a statement, Russia’s prosecutor general’s office said the blocks were imposed because of the sites’ role in helping stage illegal protests.
The further restrictions on free speech of Russian citizens may be minimized by a determined segment of the population to have their voice heard in Russia. But generally they will suffer an ever increasing specter of being consequently arrested.
By Darren Smith
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