Using the revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden as political cover, Russian officials are looking to crack down on Internet freedom in their country.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Russian officials have issued statements in recent weeks “designed to muster public support for increased restrictions on the Internet,” particularly social media.
Sergei Zhelezhyak, deputy speaker of the Russian Duma, and Ruslan Gattarov, head of the Federation Council’s Information Policy Committee, have both called for limitations on placing Russian data — both personal and governmental — on foreign servers.
Konstantin Dolgov, the human rights commissioner for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said the Kremlin is looking to ” take protective measures to plug leaks of online national security information,” according to The Free Beacon.
“U.S. officials said the officials’ comments are part of a campaign by Moscow to use the disclosures from Snowden to warn that social media poses national security dangers,” the Free Beacon reports.
When Snowden publicly came forward as the source behind the NSA leaks, he touted the defense of Internet freedom as one of his motives for blowing the whistle on the West’s global surveillance apparatus.
The Daily Caller previously reported that the NSA leaks have damaged the Obama administration’s Internet freedom agenda.
In the lead up to a global telecommunications conference in Dubai in December 2012, Russia and China pushed for greater international governance over the Internet via the International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. agency.
The push was intended to wrest global Internet governance policy from the U.S.