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Russian lawmakers look to ban e-mail users who are sharing illegal content

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A group of pro-Kremlin lawmakers and legislation that will make it possible for the authorities to block individual e-mail, or by online messenger, users of which are circulating banned content.

FILE IMAGE: A man types on a computer keyboard, a computer in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. Kacper Pempel//File Photo

The bill is likely to be the alarm for advocates of internet freedom, but state lawmakers say the law is needed to fight off a wave of false bomb threats, which are occasionally referred to, in the whole of the country in the last couple of years.

Under the proposed legislation, Internet companies would be required to be made within 24 hours, and to block individual users that are in circulation, of illegal content as well as the Roskomnadzor state communications watchdog, is asking the companies to do so.

Companies that don’t comply could face a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($15,350).

“In practice, it is effective to completely block a user, it is not the individual messages that have been sent to you by the people,” said Andrey Klishas, is one of the lawmakers that the bill was drafted.

Russian internet search company Yandex (YNDX.(O) and Google (GOOGL.D) declined to comment. Representatives of Facebook (FB.D) Update and Mail.ru Group (MAILRq.(L) has not yet responded to a Reuters request for comment.

Over the past five years, Russia has introduced stringent laws that would require search engines to remove search results, or require messaging services to share the encryption keys with the security services, and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.

The Kremlin says it is trying to protect the integrity of the internet’s Russian segment. The Kremlin’s opponents fear that the authorities are using security as an excuse to ramp up surveillance online.

To qualify, the bill must be approved by three votes in the lower house of the parliament before it is submitted for approval in the senate, and then signed by President Vladimir Putin.

The bill can still be amended, but it is likely to pass. In other accounts, tightening control of the internet and signed in to law, in Russia, in spite of the opposition of the activists, and industry lobbyists.

($1 = 65.1500 rubles)

Reporting Nadezhda Tsydenova and Anton Zverev; Writing by Anastasia Teterevleva; Editing by Tom Balmforth and Timothy Heritage

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