Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed into law the sovereign internet bill which will allow Russian authorities. This isolates the country’s internet, a move decried by rights groups. The Russian lawmakers insist the new law is necessary to ensure the security of Russia’s online networks. However, critics say that the vaguely worded bill allows the government to have censorship rights.

The text of the law has been released but will not be in effect until November.

The move is geared towards monitoring the internet routing, steering the Russian internet traffic away from foreign servers and prevent a foreign country from shutting down.

The authors of the initiative say Russia must ensure the security of its networks after US President Donald unveiled a new American cyber security strategy last year. The statement claimed Russia had carried out cyber-attacks with impunity.

A lot of people are against the legalization of this bill.

Earlier in March, Putin signed laws that allows court to fine and briefly jail people for showing disrespect towards authorities towards authorities and block media for publishing fake news.

Last week 10 international rights organizations called on Russia to scrap the Internet bill.

“The bill created a system that gives the authorities the capacity to block access to parts of the Internet in Russia,” said a statement backed by Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and others. The blocking would be “extrajudicial and non-transparent, “ the statement said.

Under the new law Russian Internet access providers will also need to ensure that their networks have the technical means for “centralised traffic control” to counter potential threats. 

This control will pass notably to the Russian FSB security service and the telecoms and media monitoring agency Roskomnadzor, which is often accused of arbitrarily blocking content on the web.

In recent years Russian authorities have blocked online sites and content linked to the opposition, as well as Internet services which fail to cooperate with them, including the Dailymotion video platform, the Linkedin online social networking site and the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

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