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Russia Moves To Restrict 'Extremist' Internet Content

Russia is moving to restrict the internet, banning the posting of "extreme" content and barring citizens from storing personal information abroad.

Russia Moves To Restrict 'Extremist' Internet Content
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The Internet just became a lot more dangerous in Russia. 

One new law makes it a crime to share content deemed "extremist" on any platform.  

This includes Facebook, where The Moscow Times reports that "liking" some content can get you up to 5 years in jail. 

And a government-controlled Twitter account announced that "retweeting" the wrong tweet will also be a crime. 

And what counts as extremist content? Russian Internet expert Irina Levova, speaking to Radio Free Europe, says no one but the government really knows.

Engadget reports another law given initial approval by the Russian parliament would bar Russians from storing personal data on servers outside the motherland. 

The government-sponsored radio station Voice of Russia says "The idea is that if sensitive information is stored on servers located in a country, NSA cannot get to it."

But critics claim the law will allow the Russian government to ban or monitor any website not already under its control. The law would require companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google to either move their servers inside Russia or shut down. 

The new laws reflect Russian fears that the internet is a powerful tool for U.S. intelligence. The Guardian reports President Putin calling the internet a "CIA Project."

"Everything goes through servers located in the U.S. Everything is monitored there." (via RT)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt compared Russia's internet regime with the "Great Firewall of China."

"It's the only country right now that has active dynamic censorship of the internet...We're worried that Russia is on the path to doing this." (via Paley Center For Media)

The rules have also come under fire inside Russia. BuzzFeed reports an independent Russian agency complaining the law could "seriously damage" the economy. 

That law, when signed by President Putin, would take effect in 2016.