On August 1, 2014, Russia plans to kill the Internet

A new law goes into effect in Russia on August 1, 2014, and if major American companies obey it, it might just kill the entire Internet.

As part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing consolidation of power and crackdown on dissent, a new Russian law will go into effect on August 1, requiring any social media company with readers in Russia to store all of its sensitive user data in Russia, on Russian servers, and make that data available to the Russian authorities, on demand, without a court order.

Oh, but it gets better. The user data the Russians are demanding be kept in Russia, and made available to the government at will, isn’t restricted to Russian social media fans. The legislation requires companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook to keep all of their user data, including yours and mine, on Russian servers, and to turn that data over to the Russian government whenever they ask for it.

Since the law’s passage the Russian government has threatened to block Twitter, Google and Facebook in Russia if they don’t abide by the new law, then turned around and said they’d never block those sites, then hinted again that they just might.

Why are the Russians doing this? So that they can find the identity of someone who writes a tweet, or a comment on Facebook, that they don’t like — and send him and his family to a gulag.

The new social media law comes at the same time as another amendment requiring bloggers to register with the government and to abide by the country’s laws governing the mass media. Again, the new law, part of a larger anti-terrorism bill, is meant to stifle dissent, by getting rid of the shield of anonymity, and subject bloggers to additional laws which give the government additional crimes with which to charge dissenters.

The blogger bill is particularly onerous as it covers anyone who receives more than 3,000 “visitors,” and that appears to include people with more than 3,000 Twitter followers, or possibly anyone who writes a tweet that’s read by more than 3,000 people.

What’s fascinating, and telling, is that while the Russian government increasingly clamps down on the Internet, and attempts to continually remove opposition political content from the Web, the Putin regime has done nothing about a nationwide network of Russian neo-Nazis who continue to use an Internet portal controlled by one of Putin’s favorite oligarchs to perpetrate and advertise the serial abduction and torture of gay, black and Jewish Russians. The neo-Nazis claim to have conducted nearly 1,500 kidnappings in the past two years alone.

As I’ve written before, the site is called VKontakte, aka VK.com, and was created and run by Russian social media entrepreneur Pavel Durov, until he was recently run out of the country, and the site was taken over by Alisher Usmanov, the richest man in Russia and a friend of Putin.  The neo-Nazi gangs, which operate under the umbrella of a group called “Occupy Pedophilia,” openly use VKontakte to post “help wanted” ads seeking assistance with the kidnappings, and then post videos of the abductions, and subsequent torture of their victims, on VK.com.

To date, there are nearly 4,000 such “gay snuff” films, as I call them (though the victims don’t die, they surely wish they were dead) on VKontakte, and the company refuses to remove them, the profiles of the kidnappers, the abduction help wanted ads, or anything else connected to the criminal enterprise.  VK’s refusal to enforce even its own terms of service in this area caused the state of California’s pension fund, CalPERS, to divest from two of Usmanov’s companies, Mail.ru and MegaFon, just last week.

Here is a snippet of one of the 4,000 kidnapping videos from VKontakte. In the original, you can hear their kidnapper singing while the men, in tears, are forced to dance on camera after having their heads shaved and painted. VK claims that these videos, taken by kidnappers of their victims being tortured, and broadcast on the Internet, in a country that is supremely homophobic, in order to destroy the lives of the victims, is “free speech.”

vk gay kidnaping

Two presumably gay men, kidnapped, and forced to dance with each other while the neo-Nazi leader sings in the background. The men’s heads were shaved down the middle and a rainbow flag was painted on their scalp. The video was then posted on VKontakte.

VK says it simply can’t remove the videos unless the victims themselves come forward as ask for them to be removed. Some of the victims are as young as 13 years of age, and agreed to meet their captors after being told they’d be paid for sex. So if those victims came forward, they could be charged with a crime. Let alone, VKontakte is expecting a possibly-gay 13 year old to out themselves to a company tied to the exceedingly homophobic Russian government.

Yes, “free speech.”

But more interesting than VK.com’s complicity in these ongoing hate crimes is the Russian government’s refusal to do anything to stop them.  There’s been no indication that the Russian government has asked (or demanded that) VK to stop aiding and abetting the kidnappings, and the government itself refuses to arrest the kidnappers, whose identities in many cases are already known.

This goes to a larger problem with the Russian government embracing a new wave of fascism to achieve its neo-colonial goals on its boarders, and worldwide.  While claiming it intervened in Ukraine to stop “Nazis,” the Russian government is actually using neo-Nazi and far-right groups to further its policy goals, such as Occupy Pedophilia’s nationwide network in Russia.  There was a fantastic article on this in the New Republic recently, by Timothy Snyder, which I highly recommend.

More from Snyder – it’s a long piece, and well worth the read if you care about the Ukrainian issue, or the broader problem that is Russia:

People who criticize only the Ukrainian right often fail to notice two very important things. The first is that the revolution in Ukraine came from the left. It was a mass movement of the kind Europeans and Americans now know only from the history books. Its enemy was an authoritarian kleptocrat, and its central program was social justice and the rule of law. It was initiated by a journalist of Afghan background, its first two mortal casualties were an Armenian and a Belarusian, and it was supported by the Muslim Crimean Tatar community as well as many Ukrainian Jews. A Jewish Red Army veteran was among those killed in the sniper massacre. Multiple Israel Defense Forces veterans fought for freedom in Ukraine.

A pro-Nazi post from VK.com.

A pro-Nazi post from VK.com.

The Maidan functioned in two languages simultaneously, Ukrainian and Russian, because Kiev is a bilingual city, Ukraine is a bilingual country, and Ukrainians are bilingual people. Indeed, the motor of the revolution was the Russian-speaking middle class of Kiev. The current government, whatever its shortcomings, is un-self-consciously multiethnic and multilingual. In fact, Ukraine is now the site of the largest and most important free media in the Russian language, since important media in Ukraine appears in Russian and since freedom of speech prevails. Putin’s idea of defending Russian speakers in Ukraine is absurd on many levels, but one of them is this: People can say what they like in Russian in Ukraine, but they cannot do so in Russia itself. Separatists in the Ukrainian east, who, according to a series of opinion polls, represent a minority of the population, are protesting for the right to join a country where protest is illegal. They are working to stop elections in which the legitimate interests of Ukrainians in the east can be voiced. If these regions join Russia, their inhabitants can forget about casting meaningful votes in the future.

This is the second thing that goes unnoticed: The authoritarian right in Russia is infinitely more dangerous than the authoritarian right in Ukraine. It is in power, for one thing. It has no meaningful rivals, for another. It does not have to accommodate itself to domestic elections or international expectations, for a third. And it is now pursuing a foreign policy that is based openly upon the ethnicization of the world. It does not matter who an individual is according to law or his own preferences: The fact that he speaks Russian makes him a Volksgenosse requiring Russian protection, which is to say invasion. The Russian parliament granted Putin the authority to invade the entirety of Ukraine and to transform its social and political structure, which is an extraordinarily radical goal. The Russian parliament also sent a missive to the Polish foreign ministry proposing a partition of Ukraine. On popular Russian television, Jews are blamed for the Holocaust; in the major newspaper Izvestiia, Hitler is rehabilitated as a reasonable statesman responding to unfair Western pressure; on May Day, Russian neo-Nazis march….

russian gays occupy pedophilia

Russian neo-Nazi leader Maxim Martsinkevich painted the Star of David on this Ukrainian abducted. His head was shaved, a rainbow flag was painted on it, and he was forced to pose with a sex toy. The abductees are usually beaten as well.

Russian propaganda insists to Westerners that the problem with Ukraine is that its government is too far to the right, even as Russia builds a coalition with the European far right. Extremist, populist, and neo-Nazi party members went to Crimea and praised the electoral farce as a model for Europe. As Anton Shekhovtsov, a researcher of the European far right, has pointed out, the leader of the Bulgarian extreme right launched his party’s campaign for the European parliament in Moscow. The Italian Fronte Nazionale praises Putin for his “courageous position against the powerful gay lobby.” The neo-Nazis of the Greek Golden Dawn see Russia as Ukraine’s defender against “the ravens of international usury.” Heinz-Christian Strache of the Austrian FPÖ chimes in, surreally, that Putin is a “pure democrat.” Even Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, recently shared Putin’s propaganda on Ukraine with millions of British viewers in a televised debate, claiming absurdly that the European Union has “blood on its hands” in Ukraine.

It’s really quite fascinating that our pique with Russia over its treatment of gays, and the Kremlin’s refusal to do anything about the neo-Nazi menace at home, fits nicely into a larger context of Putin’s grand plan to recreate a mini-me version of the Soviet Union. It’s not surprising, I suppose, that the gay issue has proven itself a window into Putin’s soul, as it were, but it is fascinating. And scary.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Badgerite

    Oh, I know Anwar Awlaki’s death was justified. He was in the hierarchy of Al Qaeda in Yemen. And in case you are unaware they were responsible for a lot of death and destruction and repression there. He was not some blameless cleric. According to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab ( the underwear bomber) Awlaki gave him instructions on precisely where to set off the bomb he was carrying to take down an airliner over an American city in order to increase the death toll.
    I’m not so sure about his son. But I don’t know the particulars of that case.
    These were not extra legal actions.
    These were based precisely on those provision I listed. Much as I have always supported the ACLU whether I agreed with them or not, they are not authoritative as to what US law is. They are lawyers who argue for a particular interpretation.
    As all lawyers do. Whether that is a valid interpretation or not is established by other means than “The ACLU says”. This is an ongoing legal argument that is currently playing out in Congress and maybe later in the courts.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Obama ordered the racist and extra legal murders of US citizens named Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Mohammed. One was a sixteen year old boy from Denver Colorado.

    You’re attempting to justify those unjustifiable murders.

  • Badgerite

    I sometimes wonder if you even read the articles you link to. The article specifically notes that there is conflicting opinion within the Obama administration and even the Pentagon as to specific targets and whether, even under the AUMF they can target people not directly involved in a conflict against American troops.
    I have a lot of regard for the ACLU, even when I do not agree with them. But the authority on the US Constitution is the United States Supreme Court.
    It isn’t as if the administration makes these decisions because they just want to kill them some Muslims.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I am not surprised that you agree with Obama’s racist murders of Arab and muslim Americans.

    Thankfully the ACLU and CRC disagree with you Democrats – http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/02/10-3

  • Bill_Perdue

    When you make political comments then I’ll reply.

  • emjayay

    Scientists, who reported their findings at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, have discovered that a certain type of neurodegenerative disease may chip away at the ability to understand the social, physical and verbal cues that help people recognize indirect language, such as sarcasm, and even deceit.

  • Badgerite

    Amendment V:
    “Except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War of public danger”.
    See the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which by the way, President Obama has called on to be repealed and Harry Reid has said it is time to look at with regard to whether it should still be in place. The drone program operates under the authority of the AUMF. The drone program, in terms of military strikes, is in operation in 3 places in the world and one of those is Yemen and that is because Yemen is a hotbed of Al Qaeda activism and is currently tearing the country and the citizenry apart in a civil war. Lots of people are dying in Yemen.
    And in Kenya. And in Nigeria. Quite a lot of them at the hands of Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda affiliates. They are kind of a franchise now.
    And as much as it has been alleged that drone strikes are turning the population against the US, Al Qaeda tactics, which are ever present on the ground in certain areas, seems to be turning the population against them.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Obama, in spite of your views, does not have the right or the duty to order the racist, or otherwise, murders of American citizens. The Constitution absolutely and categorically forbids it.

    “Amendment IV

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…

    Amendment V

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment VI

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

    Amendment VIII

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

    The US government and military have the blood of two genocides on their hands – Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos and Iraq. Why do you routinely side with people who routinely commit war crimes.

    The subject was democracy, and both the Putin and Obama regimes are in the process of consolidating police states. If you comment, please address those questions.

  • Badgerite

    Because he was Anwar Al Awlaki’s son and was probably in the presence of people whom that relationship would imply. It was not a strike in Denver, Colorado. It was a strike in Yemen. What was a Colorado born boy doing in Yemen? He was there with his father who was the Spokesperson for Al Qaeda and and involved in at least one attempt to detonate a bomb on a US bound airliner.

  • tasteless chap

    While I agree there is evil on both sides, I do not equate the evils of Putin with those of the West…not currently anyway.

  • mark_in_toronto

    The difference between Russia and the West is that Putin is out-front about it where the Western Plutocracy does it all by stealth with clever sound-bytes and a smiley face.

    Do you really see much of a difference between Putin and Western government/corporations?
    There is a GLOBAL sickness that needs to be recognized and fought. Being the lesser of a number of evils does not make us right.
    Decent Russians will do their fight. We should do ours.
    What . . . you don’t think OUR internet is under attack?
    Think again.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Don’t imagine that I was complementing you in either regard.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Democracy? Neither nation is democratic.

    NDAA, FISA, the Paytriot ACT, These are the names of victims of
    the extra-judicial racist murders of four American citizens by Obama. Their
    names are Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Mohammed. One was a sixteen year old boy from Denver Colorado.

    Remember their names, who killed them and what it means. Then get back to us about democracy, pseudo or otherwise. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/02/10-3

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21XhdpHOjRY&noredirect=1

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Godwin’s Troll ;-)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yes, the phrase was used intentionally :)

  • Badgerite

    Yes, but this is where we differ. I think there is a distinct qualitative difference between the pseudo democracy of Russia and the democracy of the United States of America. Both in how our own citizens are treated and how citizens of other countries are treated. Pussy Riot, in America, might get Pat Robertson in a dither but it was about 40 seconds of performance art in a church. That might get you a disorderly conduct citation in the United States but not much else. It certainly would not get you years in prison. No blogger has to register with the state. It is not a crime to support gay rights. The government does not control the media. The GOP may control Fixed News but that is about it. Corporate America controls the media but not the government. And corporate America is interested primarily in profit and protecting its position. And although communications of American’s may be collected, they cannot legally be accessed without an individualized warrant. Yes, I do think that is true.
    Not a single commission or committee or court that has looked at the evidence has said otherwise. More rational critics of the NSA have always talked about the ‘potential’ for abuse because they cannot point to any actual abuse.
    I don’t buy Greenwalds line about the ‘collect everything’ boosterism of some slide resulting in a policy that actually does collect everything with respect to foreign communications.
    All I see that Snowden has done is harm one of the few countries on earth that does restrict its intelligence services and hold up the prospect to other countries that have no such restraint of a more complete system of social and political control. Which is absolutely Vladimir Putin’s thing.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The real intent of laws such as these which if enforced fully would indeed ‘kill the Internet’ isn’t to actually do so.

    It’s to provide an iron-clad legal framework so that populist dissent can be quashed at will. They’ve helpfully provided a metric, too: 3000 people. That’s the level of popularity before it’s deemed important enough for scrutiny, and we can bet it won’t be groups like Russia’s anti-gay brownshirts who are thus deemed unacceptable.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The problem with Marx’s prediction that capitalism would eventually consume itself is that it didn’t account for civilization being capable of running on its feces.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Snowden’s revelations didn’t really give them a platform, Putin would probably be doing the same thing regardless. What it did do is kick the legs out from under any credibility we have to claim the moral high ground on such blatantly undemocratic actions. Any time we complain, Putin just has to point out that the US government, by in large, is a hypocritical clusterfuck of supreme idiots, without a care about their own people, their own constitution, much less the rest of the world. And we have no absolutely defense for our own actions. We continue to occupy territory illegally. We continue to kill indiscriminately. We continue to violate the privacy of everyone we can. We do pretty much all the same things Putin wants to do, we just put a happy face on it by duping millions of gullible voters that they should be giving up their rights, for their own good. We like to think we’re better, because as John has pointed out in the past, that if we had a social media site that aided an abetted violent acts, we’d shut them down and arrest the perpetrators, but the simple fact is we condone violent acts every single day in this country. Many perpetrated by the very people we have entrusted to protect us.

  • emjayay

    Thank you.

  • wmforr

    A window into Putin’s soul? But George Bush looked into his soul, and he didn’t say anything about that. Perhaps he’s hidden it in his protrait of Putin, like Hirschfeld and Nina.

  • FLL

    In fact, Ukraine is now the site of the largest and most important free media in the Russian language, since important media in Ukraine appears in Russian and since freedom of speech prevails…People can say what they like in Russian in Ukraine, but they cannot do so in Russia itself.

    This is why Putin will not be replaced by a new Russian government, and freedom of speech restored in Russia, until civil liberties become entrenched in Ukraine. What terrifies Putin is the specter of average Russians starting to resent Putin’s dictatorship because they see their Ukrainian Slavic cousins living in a society with civil liberties and freedom of speech. Ukraine’s elections are this Sunday. Various political parties are represented. The “Godwin’s-Law Troll” award will go to those Americablog commenters who hurl “Nazi” and “neo-Nazi” labels at political parties and candidates that are neither.

  • FLL

    Horrors! You’ve run off with today’s comedy award. On a more serious note, your post is more on-topic than some. John’s post today shows what happens to Internet freedom when a dictatorship takes over. “The dictatorship of the proletariat” is no different from any other dictatorship, and you can expect a prison term for exercising your freedom of speech. So be prepared for that possibility here in the United States in the year 19,000 CE. (You did leave a zero off, didn’t you?)

  • emjayay

    Well the past is our guide, those pure at heart “Don’t do evil” companies can be expected to act entirely in the interests of maximizing profits just like every other for profit enterprise in history.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Glad to see that you attempts at satire are on the same level as your politics.

  • emjayay

    Haven’t a number of Republicans expressed just that sort of idea a number of times in the past year? Besides, George W Bush famously looked deep into his eyes right to his pure soul, didn’t he?

  • Badgerite

    I don’t believe I ‘blamed’ these current developments on Snowden. I’m quite sure he has absolutely no control over Vladimir Putin. What I said was, and I think it is undeniably true, that he has given repressive governments abroad a PLATFORM to stand on while claiming this kind of authority. The idea that they were not going to use all this US bashing as such is something akin to asking a softball question about the surveillance state that is Russia while having to run your question past a government minder.

  • emjayay

    The internal tensions inherent in capitalism will lead inevitably to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system of socialism. The class antagonisms under capitalism between the bourgeoisie and proletariat will result in the working class’ conquest of political power in the form of dictatorship of the proletariat and eventually establish a classless society by 1900 at the latest.

  • Bill_Perdue

    They won’t get it. Federal internal spy agencies in the US aren’t going to give up their spy databases to a competitor police state.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The NSA has prior claim to spy data from Google, Microsoft companies and other US based internet companies and uses it daily. Massive spying is just one of the Obama regimes efforts to complete the construction of an American police state.

  • goulo

    Blaming Putin’s repressive measures on Snowden seems quite a stretch to me. He’s been doing repressive shit for years before Snowden, and will (sadly probably) still be doing it long after Snowden fades from the limelight and the general public goes back to sleep and forgets about the NSA revelations. Putin and other dictators need no Snowden-based rationales for what they do.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The first thing the right, which includes the leaderships of the Putin and Obama regimes, when challenged , is to limit internet usage and organize society wide espionage efforts like those practiced by the NSA when they’re challenged.

    The US is the leading sponsor of right wing and sometimes fascist coups against elected or established governments in dozens of nations from Argentina, Afghanistan, Brazil, Chile, Cuba,
    Cambodia, El Salvador, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua, Panama, Syria, Ukraine, Vietnam to Zaire and a host of other nations.

    The Putin regime, the Cyrillic twin of the Obama regime, will no doubt move in the same direction in terms of increasing attacks on weaker nations, ramping up internal spying of the kind we see with FISA, NDAA, the Paytriot act and the racist murders of Arab and muslim US citizens. Because of the
    growing challenges they face from the workers movements, neither Obama or Putin will be able to preserve capitalism, repression, wars of aggression or their ties with fascists.

    As for Snyder’s piece, it’s demonstrates his adjustment to fascists in government. That’s his problem. He ignores the fact that although the demonstrations in Kiev began with popular
    support, they were taken over by the fascist right in a putsch and then Ukrainian leadership was overthrown in spite of the fact that it was, and remains, a pro-capitalist regime like those in Russia and the US. Snyder seems unperturbed by the fact that the fascists in Ukraine are behaving just like fascists always have, as murderers, anti-worker and racist. “Newly formed neo-Nazi security forces are linked to fires that killed protesters who are against the current regime. In Ukraine, a grisly new strategy – bringing in neo-Nazi paramilitary forces to set fire to occupied buildings in the country’s rebellious southeast – appears to be emerging as a favored tactic as the coup-installed regime in Kiev seeks to put down resistance from ethnic Russians and other opponents.”
    http://www.alternet.org/world/ukraines-protesters-are-getting-burned-alive-brazen-arson-attacks

    Whoever wins in eastern and Southern Ukraine workers there will lose, just as we’re losing here and in Russia. Capitalism in its final and extreme phase, fascism, is a deadly threat to working people, women and to sexual, national and ethnic minorities.

  • chris10858

    According to Wikipedia, Russia has a little over a hundred million people in its country. There are over 7 billion people now living on the planet. I’d say let them go offline to the rest of the world. They can be like North Korea and worship their so-called Deity Putin just like the North Koreans worship their divine leader.

  • vickif

    I can see hugh lawsuits against Russia if other countries user data is sent to Russia if these companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook comply.

  • SkippyFlipjack
  • bkmn

    Something like that but it needs more shirtless horseback riding.

  • gratuitous

    Appalling. And what’s even worse? There’s some guy, right here in the United States, looking down that laundry list of repression and terrorization, and thinking, “You know, maybe this Putin guy is onto something. How could we do that here, but with maybe a smiley-face sticker on it?”

  • Badgerite

    God, what a can of worms Snowden opened up. I think he really got the horse before the cart. In order to ensure privacy as a human right one would have to ensure all the other human rights that are currently in dispute in the world. Like all of them. Like for girls in Nigeria, and for gays and others in Russia and China and wherever, if you don’t fix those first, what the hell does privacy matter. He acts as if there has been a consensus reached in the world with respect to those fundamental rights and I am quite sure that that is not the case. All he has really done is give repressive governments abroad the platform from which to claim this kind of authority and right. So really there are just more governments and way more repressive governments infringing on the rights of their citizenry and in Putin’s case probably the rights of citizens of neighboring states and with repression as the aim.
    I don’t think Putin has the power to do much to most Americans but there are people in neighboring countries who he could and would do harm to. Not to mention those in Russia communicating more liberal thoughts to others on the internet.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis
  • Jason Walker

    Yeah…This is a freaking joke. If Russia actually thinks that google and the likes are going to store their data in Russia, they are sadly mistaken.

  • jomicur

    Hmmm…I wonder what will happen when another country–North Korea, say, or even China–passes a similar law. How exactly will they work out who wins the right to force all companies to store their data in their country? Will we see “internet wars” over which country has the right to control all the into in the world?

  • StraightGrandmother

    Maybe Western Embassies can open Internet cafes on Embassy grounds?
    I find this news very very troubling.
    I am really wondering if our Social Media companies are going to comply or not.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    This is going to prove far more difficult than they imagine. The only way to do this effectively is to turn yourself into North Korea which dooms your citizens to abject poverty. Yes, the majority of people would not be able to access social media if Russia decides to shut it down but there will be plenty who find workarounds. Staying ahead of young people doing what they like online is a losing battle but one older people seem insistent on fighting nevertheless. It just further alienates them and turns fence-sitters against you.

  • Indigo

    So it comes to this. Inevitable, really, in a world where dictatorship is an accepted form of government. It’s not the end of the Net so much as it’s the end of the Open Net. Anyone among us who is surprised is either pretend to be surprised for reasons that have to do with an ideology of openness that didn’t ever actually exist or is profoundly naive. Open Net is gone, that was inevitable.

    Now what? Now archipelagos of nets hither and yon, a global system that interfaces with alternative deep nets and another portal that opens into the realm of the Controlled Net. Meanwhile, here in the States, we’re gearing up for a bifurcated pay-as-you-go system, not unlike our toll roads. We’re already accustomed to the Chinese efforts to control the web, now we have the Russians making a similar effort. But since Net Neutrality has already been abolished the options are narrowing as we blog.

    We can wax indignant but what else can we do? Boycott the web? Hah!

  • bkmn

    Megalomania gone wild…STARRING Vladimir Putin!

  • StraightGrandmother

    Oh, but it gets better. The user data the Russians are demanding be kept in Russia, and made available to the government at will, isn’t restricted to Russian social media fans. The legislation requires companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook to keep all of their user data, including yours and mine, on Russian servers, and to turn that data over to the Russian government whenever they ask for it.

    Oh WOW!
    So Twitter has to store it’s entire database of Twitter users from around the world, has to store that data in Russia, to be tapped by Russian authorities at will? Oh WOW, I wonder if they are going to comply?

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