Putin signs controversial internet law

Putin signs controversial internet law
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Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinProgressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting Russian lawmakers back Putin on withdrawal from nuclear arms treaty MORE signed a controversial measure into law enabling the creation of a national internet network that would be able to operate independently from the rest of the world.

Putin signed the measure — largely theoretical as of now — on Wednesday, according to documents obtained by CNN.

The Russian network aims to protect against foreign online restrictions, creating a "sustainable, secure and fully functioning" local internet, according to the Kremlin.

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The law legally establishes the creation of the Russian internet server but few details have been disclosed, CNN noted. 

The legislation, which will take effect in November, creates a monitoring and management center supervised by Russia’s telecoms agency, Roskomnadzor, state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.

In extraordinary situations, the agency would be able to cut off external internet traffic to create a solely Russian web system.

Information from state entities and state-owned enterprises on the internet will be encrypted, RIA-Novosti reported.

The policy is not the first signed by the Russian president seen as an attempt to curtail internet freedom and political speech, raising concern among free speech advocates.

Putin in March signed into law a series of bills that criminalize the spreading of "fake news" or "blatant disrespect" for the Russian state. 

The laws penalizes distributing information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia,” and will allow prosecutors to refer any complaints about online media to the state communications agency. Penalties could include fines and up to 15 days in jail.