Russia’s resurgent fortress mentality recently prompted the bulldozing and burning of tonnes of Western food at the border. Today the walls will extend into cyberspace, as a law comes into force requiring technology companies to store data about Russian users on servers inside the country, supposedly to foil snooping by Western spy agencies. PayPal, eBay and Uber are said to have acquiesced, rather than risk losing access to an important market (Russia boasts the most internet users in Europe); others are reportedly resisting. A spokesman for Russia’s internet regulator has said there are no plans to check internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Twitter for compliance with the law in 2015. But he added that there is now a legal basis to block such sites at any time in the future. Russia’s new law is part of its tightening of control over the internet, which President Vladimir Putin last year labelled a “CIA project”.
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