Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Thousands of people are protesting Russia's new internet bill

Thousands of people are protesting Russia's new internet bill

According to Reuters, protesters screamed "hands off the internet" and "no to isolation, stop breaking the Russian internet".

A mass rally in Moscow and similar demonstrations in two other cities were called after parliament backed the controversial bill last month.

However, backers of the bill say it is created to ensure the operation of the Internet in the country if access to servers overseas is cut off, RFE/RL wrote.

Thousands rallied in downtown Moscow to protest an Internet bill on March 10.

However, campaigners revealed it was in efforts to raise censorship and stifle dissent.

Opposition activists said on Twitter that police had detained 15 people at the Moscow rally, confiscating their banners and balloons. Moscow police put the numbers at 6,500. "The authorities will keep following their own way and the point of no return will be passed", said 28-year-old protester Dmitry, who declined to give his full name.

The name Roskomsvoboda is short for Russian Freedom Committee and plays off Roskomnadzor, the name of the state communications, Internet, and media oversight agency.

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One correspondent for AFP reported seeing a man being dragged away from the rally by his arms and legs.

Critics say this is the latest attempt to control online content under President Vladimir Putin, with some fearing the country is on track to completely isolate its network, as in North Korea.

Activists say the bill is another censorship bid following previous efforts in Russian Federation to control global social networking platforms and block the Telegram messenger service.

The bill calls for the creation of a system that would protect Russian Federation in the event of cyberwar while also filtering Internet traffic to the country, but there has been debate about how realistic that is and how much it would cost. The popular Telegram messaging app, which Russian authorities have been unsuccessfully trying to block for many months, called on its users to attend the rally last week.

Russian Federation has introduced a swathe of tougher internet laws in recent years.

In February, Russian legislators voted a bill to tighten internet restrictions.

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