All news

Resisting Silicon Valley’s bias: Kremlin seeks to defend Russians from big tech censorship

The details are yet to be discussed, but this mechanism is definitely needed, the Kremlin spokesman said
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, November 19./TASS/. A mechanism to protect the interests of Russian Internet users is needed, but it must be thoroughly hammered out, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday in comments on a bill stipulating action against the discrimination of Russian media outlets.

"We must say that clearly bias towards Russian clients of these [Internet] services does take place. We have seen such steps that infringe upon the interests of users from Russia. We have seen them in the recent weeks and even months. Of course, there must be action against this," Peskov said.

Creating an instrument to fight this abuse by Silicon Valley is a whole different ballgame, he stressed. "This is an issue that has to be thoroughly looked into, and I think this mechanism will be formulated in the process of discussing this bill," he added.

The details are yet to be discussed, but this mechanism is definitely needed, he stressed. He also noted that the global tech titans have issues not just with Russian users. "These giants have problems with their own clients. They are not only discriminating against our media outlets, and our users. They are also discriminating against their users, so this problem has broader characteristics," he pointed out. "However, in this context let them themselves sort things out with their users, while for us the main thing is to protect our users against this discrimination," Peskov stated.

On Thursday, a team of State Duma legislators submitted a bill to the lower house enabling the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media to block internet resources for censorship with regard to Russian media outlets. The bill introduces the status of "the owner of web resources involved in violations of fundamental rights and freedoms of the people and against the rights and freedoms of nationals of the Russian Federation". In consultations with the Foreign Ministry, the nation’s prosecutor general may assign this status to the owner of a web resource permitting discrimination against Russian media content. The media watchdog may get the right to partially or fully restrict access to these resources.

Such web resources may face the fine varying from several thousand rubles to 3 million rubles (about $39,194), one of the architects of the bill, legislator Anton Gorelkin, told TASS on Thursday.