Russia, China cooperating on Internet censorship, report says

Under Russian President Vladimir Putin Moscow is collaborating with China in stepping up Internet control and filtering, according to a report. Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/European Pressphoto Agency

MOSCOW, Nov. 29 (UPI) — Russia is looking to China for “Great Firewall” technology that can increase its control of the Internet.

The growing collaboration between Moscow and Beijing comes less than a month after Russia decided to block LinkedIn, the career-networking site.

The two countries have also been stepping up joint efforts in the sectors of energy, Eurasian regional integration and military technology cooperation, Chinese state media reported.

But as the Kremlin seeks more control over what Russians read and see in cyberspace, China’s system of online filtering and control is gaining attention in Moscow, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

New laws in Russia give the government dominion over the Internet space, including exchange points, domain names and cross-border fiber-optic cables, the report said.

A policy known as Yarovaya’s law also requires Russia’s telecommunications companies and Internet providers to store users’ data for six months and metadata for three years.

But Yarovaya’s law requires the government to cope with a deluge of information about users.

Russia cannot look to the West for technologies to handle the workload because of sanctions, but China’s system could offer an alternative solution for Russia’s censors.

“China remains our only serious ‘ally,’ including in the IT sector,” a source in the Russian information technology industry told The Guardian, adding, “we are in fact actively switching to Chinese.”

High-ranking officials in Moscow, military personnel and powerful businessmen, including billionaire Konstantin Malofeev, who may be behind the law, are promoting cooperation with China, according to the report.

In early November China’s state news service Global Times reported Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Russian President Vladimir Putin met to strengthen economic cooperation.

The two sides have agreed to work more closely together since the G20 summit in Hangzhou in October, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.


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