Culture 2 min read

Widespread Protests Erupt due to Russian Sovereign Internet Bill

A large number of supporters opposed the bill due to the possibility for censorship and widespread surveillance.  Image via the BBC

A large number of supporters opposed the bill due to the possibility for censorship and widespread surveillance. Image via the BBC

Thousands of people rallied on the streets of Moscow over the weekend against the proposed Sovereign Internet bill. The bill was passed by Russian parliament last month, and people are not happy.

According to protest organizers, the controversial bill, which aims to disconnect Russia’s Internet service from the global network, is an attempt by the government to increase censorship and stifle dissent.

However, Russian authorities claim that the bill intends to enhance the country’s cybersecurity by minimizing the amount of information transferred and processed in other countries.

In a statement, Aleksandr Isavnin of the Roskomsvoboda movement, one of the organizers of the rally, said:

“Our state has paid attention to the fact that the Internet is being used to freely exchange information, including by opposition forces, and therefore it wants very much to put it under control.”

The Sovereign Internet Bill

Smaller events against the Sovereign Internet bill were also carried out in other Russian cities on Sunday. Critics claimed that the parliament’s move is just a way to control online content under the presidency of Vladimir Putin. Others feared that Russia could now follow in the footsteps of North Korea.

Russia isn’t Iran or North Korea. We are part of the civilized world,” a statement from the Libertarian Party said.

The unregistered party accused Russian authorities of keeping the country behind the West and that the censorships imposed by the government restrict the lives of the people.

The Sovereign Internet bill proposes the creation of a system to safeguard Russia’s cyberspace in cases of foreign attack. At the same time, it would also filter Internet traffic that comes in and out of the country.

Russia already announced its plans to test the proposal by disconnecting from the global Internet network. However, no definite testing date has yet been set.

Read More: Russian Government Plans To Disconnect The Country From Global Internet

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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