Putin to censor websites and WhatsApps criticising Russia in Soviet-style crackdown

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Vladimir Putin is set to censor eliminating websites and WhatsApp messages which criticise Russia

Software exploited to bypass blocked websites and any reference to those websites on search locomotives will be banned under the new law.

Operators of messaging apps, including encrypted WhatsApp and Radio-telegram, will also be required to identify who their users are.

They inclination also have to block certain messages at the Russian state’s put in for and would have to allow the authorities to circulate their own propaganda words.

These bills will drive one of the last on the barrel-heads into the coffin of internet freedom in Russia

Johann Bihr, RSF

Those who do not submit could be fined up to £13,000 each time.

Until a few years ago the internet in Russia was somewhat free, but following a wave of large demonstrations against electoral funny business in 2011 and 2012, the government has reined in users.

In 2016, 29 internet users were handed penitentiary sentences for commenting or posting images, or even reposting, on social networks — twice the amount as the year rather than.

A bill banning blocking software and the other bill affecting statement apps were given the go-ahead this week during their before all readings in record time after Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the countryside’s Federal Security Service, asked for the bills to be sped up so they can change law as soon as possible.

They are set to be adopted during their second readings which are impending.

Journalists and freedom of speech campaigners have hit out at the Kremlin as they accept President Putin is ridding Russia of the last vestiges of freedom in a communist China-style crackdown which would deceive been seen in the Soviet Union if the internet had been in use.

Reporters Without Confines (RSF), which campaigns for global press freedom, has called on the Duma to drop the two bills.

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Russians could have their WhatsApps tracked under the law

Johann Bihr, head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk, said: “If they invite out effect, these bills will drive one of the last nails into the pall of internet freedom in Russia.

“By seeking to perfect Russia’s mechanisms of digital censorship and scrutiny, these bills trample on the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution and the European Conference on Human Rights. 

“We call on the Duma to reject them on second look over.”

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Russians have been protesting against the proposed censorship

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President Putin and Chinese commander Xi Jinping spoke at the G20

Mr Durov refused to comply with the 2014 law, but after much difficulties he finally agreed to register Telegram, but still insists he will not dividend user data.

Five less widely-used messaging services, BlackBerry Errand-girl, Imo, Line, VChat and WeChat, were blocked in early May for not registering and as a way of spread pressure on the more popular services.

Russia is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in the RSF’s 2017 Earth Press Freedom Index.

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