Russian Lower House, Duma Orders Staff To Report On All Publicly Accessible Information

Russian Lower House, Duma Orders Staff To Report On All Publicly Accessible Information
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Russian Parliament has passed a law to force Internet sites that store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so inside the country and the employees of the lower house of the Russian parliament have been ordered to submit a detailed report on all publicly accessible information they have posted on the internet.

Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Thursday that the document requiring all staff to report on their internet activities was published on the State Duma intranet earlier this month.

The new law requires all Internet companies to move Russian data onto servers based in Russia or face being blocked from the web. That would likely affect U.S.-based social networks such as Facebook, analysts say.

“The aim of this law is to create quasi-legal pretext to close Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other services,” Internet expert and blogger Anton Nossik said Friday.

“The ultimate goal is to shut mouths, enforce censorship in the country and shape a situation where Internet business would not be able to exist and function properly.”

The State Duma internal instruction is based on a government order issued at the end of 2016. This order requires all civil servants to report their internet activities in 2016 by April 1.

It also states that starting from 2017, anyone who applies for a job in a state agency must provide information about his or her internet activities for over three years prior to the date of application.

The bill does not contain any universal rules for all civil servants, but it does order human resource departments of various state agencies to develop their own rules and to brief their employees on them. Those who violate the social network code can be fired “due to the loss of trust”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB officer who has called the Internet a “CIA project,” denied he was restricting web freedoms, saying his main concern was protecting children from indecent content.

Several unnamed sources in the Duma told Kommersant that the new requirements were extremely difficult to meet, as the order requires reporting on every post made in social networks, and other internet activities, which can be difficult or next to impossible to remember. They also said that they were already overburdened with reporting following the introduction of a law requiring them to report all income and spending.

 

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