Snowden Makes Rare Comment on Putin’s Politics

August 15, 2016

I off hand heard a comment from someone living in Russia that President Vladimir Putin was returning the country to a time resembling the Soviet days.  To my western ears, that does not sound good.  Things are about to get worse for Russian citizens due to a new law the government signed into law.  Yahoo Tech reports in the article that “Putin Signs Controversial Anti-Terror Measures Into Law” that these new laws are meant to be anti-terror laws, but are better referred to as “Big Brother” laws.

The new laws give the government greater surveillance powers of its citizens.  This means that under the guise of providing extra security communications-based companies will be forced to store people’s calls, messages, photos, videos, and metadata for three years.  The companies must also allow security services full access to all the data and any encryption tools necessary.  It gets even worse:

“They also criminalise several offences, lower the age of criminal responsibility to 14 for some crimes and extend prison sentences for online crimes like abetting terrorism.  The passage of the bills through Russia’s lower and upper houses of parliament sent shockwaves through the internet and telecoms industries.”

Communications-based companies are worried that the new laws will cut into their profit margins.  It is predicted that the new infrastructure necessary to store the massive amount of data will cost four times the industry’s annual profit.  It is recommended that a tax on the entire industry, then use that money to build the infrastructure would be a better option.

The US whistleblower Edward Snowden, currently in Russia for asylum, made a rare comment on Russia’s politics via Twitter about the new laws:

“ ‘Signing the #BigBrother law must be condemned,’ he said, adding that he would criticise the law despite fearing retaliation from Russian authorities.”

Snowden wrote what is already written on the wall when it comes to Russia: Putin is changing the country for the worse and it is scary to imagine where it will go next.


Whitney Grace, August 15, 2016
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