Timo Kuusela (CC-BY)

The Guardian is reporting that Russian officials might take drastic measures in the event of public unrest.

A plan that may have originated to secure Russia’s independence from Western technology and surveillance by the United States may have morphed into a scheme to exert greater control over the Internet in general.

President Vladimir Putin will convene a meeting of his security council on Monday. It will discuss what steps Moscow might take to disconnect Russian citizens from the web “in an emergency”, the Vedomosti newspaper reported. The goal would be to strengthen Russia’s sovereignty in cyberspace. The proposals could also bring the domain .ru under state control, it suggested.

Russian TV and most of the country’s newspapers are under the Kremlin’s thumb. But unlike in China, the Russian internet has so far remained a comparatively open place for discussion, albeit one contested by state-sponsored bloggers and Putin fans.

A number of countries already suppress and monitor Internet communication in ways that are more restrictive than what is described here. This doesn’t sound like China’s infamous Great Firewall, for instance. But it is undoubtedly a step in the wrong direction where individual freedom is concerned.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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