Scripps Howard Visiting Professional Gives Insight to the Russian Internet Battle

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A Scripps Howard Visiting Professional reports from Russia that Putin fights two battles instead of one.

Along with trying to gain control over Eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is also trying to gain control over Russia's internet, according to Andrew Alexander.

Recently Putin signed a new law that allows for further restrictions on bloggers. This law requires that any blogger with an audience of 3,000 hits per day register with the government.

One way that the government may try to circumvent privacy barriers regarding how many hits a page receives a day would be to monopolize the internet servers. This would force servers in Russia to answer to the government and isolate U.S. based search engines such as Google or Facebook, Alexander said.

Once registered with the government the factuality of a blogger's statement must be established. Alexander reports that this could be used a pretense to shut down a blog. The thinking behind this is if a blogger were to voice an oppositional opinion that is incongruent with the government's position, then the blogger could potentially be shut down, therefore establishing a presedent of stifling the opposition.

"The devil is in the detail of the law and that's part of the problem," Alexander said. He said that while Russia may not be number one in internet censorhip but it may lean towards the top. With 61 million people using the internet, Russia would be right up along China in terms of internet censorship.