Russia is quietly ramping up its Internet censorship machine

Enlarge (credit: Kremlin official photo)

Since 2019, Vladimir Putin has supercharged his plan to separate Russia from the global Internet. The country’s sovereign Internet law, which came into force that November, gives officials the power to block access to websites for millions of Russians. The law was used to hit Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with blocks and followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Since then, Russian officials have continuously dripped out new policies and measures to further control the Internet, boosting the state’s censorship and surveillance powers. Each small move continues to push Russia toward a more isolated, authoritarian version of the web—restricting the rights of those inside its border and damaging the foundational ideas of an open web.

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