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Russian lawmakers approve plan to take more control over internet traffic

Bill would give the country more censorship power

Vladimir Putin Meets Mauricio Macri - Argentina G20 Leaders’ Summit 2018 Photo by Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images

Russian lawmakers are moving ahead with a proposal to take further control over internet traffic in the country, The Associated Press reports.

Under the proposal, Russian internet traffic would be required to be sent through servers in the country, according to the AP, giving the country more leverage to surveil and censor information. The bill was approved by the State Duma, and it will now head to the upper legislative chamber before going to President Putin’s desk for a signature.

Russia has said the law is needed to protect its national security interests, but critics have pointed to the country’s dismal record on censorship as a reason for skepticism. Last month, the country passed a law banning the distribution of “fake news” online, which critics said was merely a way to punish government critics.

Russia has also taken steps against tech companies directly, banning encrypted messaging service Telegram last year and grappling with Google over links to banned websites.