Russia Passes Bill in Move Toward Internet Control

Russia’s lower legislative house passed a bill Thursday that would “route web traffic through filters controlled” by the country’s “communications watchdog,” The New York Times reports. The bill, which passed 320-15, also would reportedly enable the country to establish its own “system of domain names” so that Russia’s internet could keep running even if they were “cut off from the global web.” While the bill’s stated goal is to create a “stable, secure and seamless” web, internet advocates say it would allow communications watchdog Roskomnadzor to have “unchecked powers” over Russia’s internet and would create a system resembling the Chinese model—where entire websites are barred. Last year, the Russian government attempted and failed to shut down the encrypted messaging app Telegram. The bill will reportedly get final approval at the end of April and will go into effect in November after President Putin signs it into law.