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  1. MOSCOW (Reuters) - A group of pro-Kremlin lawmakers has drafted legislation that would allow authorities to block individual e-mail or online messenger users who circulate banned content. The bill is likely to alarm advocates of internet freedoms, but the lawmakers say the legislation is needed to combat a wave of hoax bomb threats that have been sporadically called in across the country in recent years. Under the proposed legislation, Internet companies would be required within 24 hours to block individual users who circulate illegal content if the Roskomnadzor state communications watchdog asks the companies to do so. Companies that fail to comply would face a fine of 1 million roubles ($15,350). “In practice, it is efficient to completely block a user, not the individual messages sent by them,” said Andrey Klishas, one of the lawmakers who drafted the bill. Russian internet search company Yandex and Google declined to comment. Representatives of Facebook , Viber and Mail.ru Group have not yet responded to a Reuters request for comment. Over the past five years, Russia has introduced tougher laws that require search engines to delete some search results, oblige messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and make social networks store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country. The Kremlin says it is trying to protect the integrity of the internet’s Russian-language segment. The Kremlin’s opponents fear the authorities are using security as a pretext to ramp up surveillance online. To become law, the bill must be approved in three votes in the lower house of parliament before it is sent for approval in the upper house and then signed by President Vladimir Putin. The bill can still be amended, but is likely to pass. Other bills tightening controls of the internet have been signed into law in Russia despite opposition from activists and industry lobbyists. ($1 = 65.1500 roubles) Source
  2. Russian senators have drafted legislation that would require Internet users to verify their identity using their phone numbers, before gaining access to email. The State Duma previously adopted a law that imposes the same restrictions on the use of instant messengers. Led by senators Andrey Klishas and Alexander Bashkin, the lawmakers have also proposed requiring email services to block messages containing information banned in Russia within 24 hours of being notified by the state authorities. “The adoption of this legislation will significantly reduce the number of false terrorist messages distributed through email services, create the legal conditions for bringing criminals to justice, and reduce the economic damage from such communications,” claims the draft law’s explanatory note. Senators Klishas and Bashkin were co-authors of Russia’s notorious “RuNet isolation” law, which passed earlier this year. Thanks to that legislation, Russia’s federal authorities gained the power to control Russia’s Internet exchange points with the outside world. The law theoretically makes it possible for the state to create an infrastructure that would allow Russia’s Internet to operate in isolation from the rest of the world. Roskomnadzor, the government’s official censor, is responsible for coordinating this new “sustainable and safe” Internet. Source
  3. MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian lawmakers want to make it a legal requirement for all smartphones, computers and smart TV sets sold in Russia to come pre-installed with certain Russian software in a bid to support domestic software producers, according to a draft bill. The bill, tabled at the lower house of parliament on Thursday, would allow authorities to draw up a list of mandatory, locally-made software. If passed, it would come into force in July 2020. Russia’s cell-phone market is dominated by Apple, Samsung and Huawei products. The bill also proposes fining companies that sell devices without pre-installed Russian software from 50,000 to 200,000 rubles ($790-3,170) starting from January 2021. The proposal will only become law if it is backed in three votes by the lower house of parliament and then approved by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin. The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and communications ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Russia has introduced tougher Internet laws in the last five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and social networks to store user data on servers in the country. ($1 = 63.0265 rubles) Source
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