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Working with BRICS, UN on internet security: Putin
October 1, 2014, 6:24 pm

Putin at a Security Council meet in Moscow, Russia on 1st October 2014 [PPIO]

Putin at a Security Council meet in Moscow, Russia on 1st October 2014 [PPIO]

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow is working with its BRICS partners and the UN on “guaranteeing international information security” even as he alleged that Russia’s internet domains have been under increasing attacks this year and need better protection.

“I must say that the number of attacks has increased significantly in the past six months. It is simply incomparable, even when compared with last year,” Putin told a Russian Security Council meeting in Moscow.

“At the last BRICS summit, for example, our countries’ leaders condemned the mass electronic surveillance and personal data collection that has been practised by particular countries’ security services. We consider this a direct violation of national sovereignty and human rights, especially the right to inviolability of private life,” Putin added.

Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev said Russian internet came under attack 57 million times in the first six months of this year, while some 90 million attacks have been registered since 2010.

“We see that some countries are attempting to use their dominance in the global information space to pursue not only economic but also military and political objectives. They make active use of information systems as an instrument of so-called ‘soft power’ to achieve their goals,” the Russian President said on Wednesday.

A 2013 report by industry body comScore said, with 61 million users, Russia is Europe’s fastest-growing Internet audience.

Earlier this month, Russian daily Vedomosti cited a number of unnamed security and industry sources, which said the Russian authorities want the ‘runet’ – the Russian part of the internet – to be able to operate independently from the rest of the world in case of an emergency, foreign-induced shutdown.

Protecting Russia’s information space against threats, Putin added, was currently one of the priorities to ensure national security.

“We need to substantially toughen the protection of our own communications networks and information resources, primarily those used by government agencies,” he said. His statements could be seen by critics as part of the Kremlin’s attempts to clamp down on internet freedom.

America’s Foreign Policy magazine has said this is an attempt to “rein in the web”.

Putin, meanwhile on Wednesday, alleged that the sharp rise of attacks in 2014 was connected to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in February as well as the Ukraine crisis.

Putin, however, dismissed reports that the Kremlin was planning to curb internet freedom saying the government has no intention to “control” the internet.

“Let me make it clear here that we have no plans to restrict internet access or put the internet under total control, put in the state’s hands or restrict the lawful interests and possibilities of people, public organisations, and business in the information sphere,” he said.

Russia’s communications minister, Nikolay Nikiforov has said Moscow is preparing for any eventuality.

“Recently, Russia is being addressed in a language of unilateral sanctions: first, our credit cards are being cut off; then the European Parliament says that they’ll disconnect us from SWIFT. In these circumstances, we are working on a scenario where our esteemed partners would suddenly decide to disconnect us from the internet,” said Nikiforov.


TBP and Agencies

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