Putin signs law allowing Russian authorities to block foreign social networks and video platforms

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree tightening regulation for large foreign Internet companies in Russia.

The document, introduced by a group of deputies from the Committee on Information Policy and Senator Alexei Pushkov, mandates that resource owners with a daily audience of more than 500,000 users set up local branches, open offices or establish Russian legal entities “who should fully represent the interests of the parent companies.”

Beginning January 1, 2022, international IT giants will have to install a user counter chosen by the Russian media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, open a virtual representative office on the Roskomnadzor’s website toto have a direct communication line with the Russian authorities, and place an online form for citizens’ requests and complains.

The law provides for strict measures for violators, which includes a ban on advertising, a ban on payments, collection and cross-border transfer of personal data of Russian users.

As a last step, the resource may be partially or completely blocked in the territory of Russia. The preliminary list of sites covered by the law includes 20 names.

It includes social networks Facebook, Instagram,  Twitter, video hosting platforms YouTube,TikTok, Twitch.tv, messengers WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, mail service Gmail, search engines Google, Bing.com, hosting providers Amazon, Digital Ocean, Cloudflare, GoDaddy, online stores Aliexpress.com, Ikea.com, Wikipedia.org Iherb.com.

As one of the authors of the initiative, the head of the State Duma’s profile committee on information policy Alexander Khinshtein, previously assured, the measures of coercion against IT companies violating Russian laws will be applied in stages and only after repeated disregard of Roskomnadzor’s regulations.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin noted that the regulation of IT giants is a common legal practice in many countries. In his opinion, foreign companies had the opportunity to choose the path of self-regulation, but they did not take advantage of it, so it is necessary to establish the laws, including the introduction of coercive measures.

Putin himself assured that the authorities are not going to “block” but “work” with foreign social networks and Internet giants.

“There are problems when they tell us to go away, when they do not comply with our demands, and Russian laws,” Putin said during the TV program “Direct Line with Putin”

According to Putin, the behavior of foreign social networks “degrades” Russian values.

(C)UAWIRE 2021

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