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Russia: No, we don’t want to curb online freedoms – we want to protect internet

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Russia opens case against Facebook and Twitter over data-localization law
Facebook and Twitter are in breach of laws requiring personal data to be kept on Russian soil, say the authorities.

The Russian government has denied claims by activists that its plan to make the Russian internet separable from the rest of the internet has anything to do with clamping down on online freedoms.

Legislation for the potential independence of the Russian internet space — the so-called Runet — was proposed at the end of last year. 

The idea, which is roughly analogous to China’s Great Firewall, is to be able to block outside content and keep Russian traffic within the country’s borders. A test of the idea’s viability is scheduled to take place on April 1.

Last weekend, as many as 15,000 protesters rallied in Moscow against the internet sovereignty law, which was cleared in February by the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. An estimated 30 people were arrested before and during the rally.

The protests were spearheaded by the country’s Libertarian Party. According to an account by The Moscow Times, organizers and participants maintained that the legislation is designed to ease the way for censorship of the internet in Russia, and to make it harder for opposition figures to organize protests.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied these claims, arguing that “everyone is calling for internet freedom”.

“We cannot support their misunderstanding and deception that the passed bills are somehow aimed at limiting internet freedom,” Peskov told reporters, according to TASS news agency.

“On the contrary, they are designed to ensure [the] internet’s viability amid potential aggressive steps in cyberspace against our country.”

Regarding a televised interview with a protester who apparently claimed the Kremlin wants to be able to cut Russia off the rest of the internet with the press of a button, Peskov said: “This is absolutely a deception. However, this participant somehow is not afraid that someone overseas will press this button and disconnect him from the internet.”

SEE: Can Russian hackers be stopped? Here’s why it might take 20 years (TechRepublic cover story) | download the PDF version

The law has always been pitched as a defensive measure. It would involve the completion of a national Domain Name System (DNS), and the localization of all content that the Russian authorities are prepared to let people see, in the event of the plan being activated. 

Russian internet exchange points and internet service providers would be “required to ensure the possibility of centralized control over traffic, in the event of a threat”.

The aggressor in that scenario is most likely the US, which repeatedly cited Russia as an online aggressor in last year’s National Cyber Strategy — though there is no evidence to suggest the US is planning to cut any countries off the internet.

As for Peskov’s claim that “as far as internet freedom is concerned, the position of [the protesters] can be backed,” there is an awful lot of evidence to suggest that the Kremlin is no fan of the concept.

In recent years, Russian authorities have introduced draconian data-retention and data-localization laws, banned virtual private networks (VPNs), prosecuted many people for sharing “extremist” memes, told mobile operators to record which people are using which messaging apps, banned the messaging app Telegram for refusing to hand over encryption keys, cracked down on bloggers, and called on citizens to help scour the internet for content that should be blocked.

Previous and related coverage

Russia to disconnect from the internet as part of a planned test

Russia’s internet contingency plan gets closer to reality.

Russia: We’re suing Facebook, Twitter for snubbing law on storing users’ data locally

Facebook and Twitter are in breach of laws requiring personal data to be kept on Russian soil, say the authorities.

Russia: Now everyone who uses a messaging app must be identifiable

New decree means messaging services will have to check users’ registration data with their mobile operator.

Google warned: Your YouTube ads interfere with our elections, says Russia

Google has drawn the ire of Russian authorities for running opposition-paid adverts about upcoming protests.

Telegram starts to play nice with security agencies over user data, but not in Russia

Under Telegram’s new privacy policy, it could hand over user IP and phone details given the right court order.

Russian cyber spies busted by Netherlands ‘left behind evidence of many operations’

Equipment seized by Dutch intelligence points to Russia’s involvement in hacking incidents around the world.

Stop jailing people for likes and memes, says Russia’s biggest social network

Mail.ru, which runs leading Russian social network Vkontakte, is calling for a change in the law.

Russia: We want volunteers to help us censor the internet

Russia’s interior minister says he wants citizens to scour the internet for banned material.

Russia’s ‘Big Brother’ data law now in force: Kremlin spies are the big winners

To help Russian security services, providers will now have to keep customers’ texts, calls, and chat logs in full.

Google, Amazon drawn into Telegram ban as Russia blocks millions of IP addresses

Russia’s quest to stop encrypted messaging app Telegram also blocks thousands of Amazon, Google addresses

Microsoft: We’ve just messed up Russian plans to attack US 2018 midterm elections

Claiming a win over Russian plans to hack US politicians, Microsoft unveils a new security service to detect attacks expected in the lead-up to the midterms.

What chief data officers can learn from Facebook about building better big data security practices TechRepublic

Here are four tips for improving big data governance strategies in light of the news about Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of Facebook user profiles.

Wickr may have a workaround for Russia’s crackdown on encrypted chat CNET

A partnership with censorship-evading experts at Psiphon aims to keep the service going everywhere.

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Indiana Is The First State To Sue TikTok Over Child Safety Worries

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To tech-savvy and/or historically informed readers, the widespread concern about TikTok in the U.S. might smack of earlier moral panics. As mental health nonprofit Take This reports, it’s a matter of record that social media, video and tabletop games, clothing choices, music genres, and virtually anything else enjoyed by the young have been excoriated by American elders on one moral basis or another.

At the same time, serious questions have been raised about the safety of TikTok as a platform. We’ve reported in the past about the successes and failures of TikTok’s content moderation, from its largely hands-off, algorithmic approach to managing content to the borderline unethical treatment experienced by the human moderators the platform does possess. Content capable of generating severe psychological trauma in adult professional content managers certainly shouldn’t be emerging in children’s feeds.

Moderation and data security are also inescapably entwined. Hands-off moderation doesn’t just threaten the possibility of traumatic content in users’ feeds; it allows for sharing media at least some users are likely to see as unethical if not illegal. Add that to the documented pressures that Chinese law puts on social media platforms and it starts to seem like the Indiana lawsuit, right or wrong, at least has some kind of grounding.

Still, TikTok has answered critics and survived plenty of tough talk from the previous presidential administration. Whether it can continue to do so will depend both on the commitment of the platform’s user base and its ability to adapt to the requirements of American law.

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How Fast Is The Electric Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Really?

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According to Livewire, the ONE has some impressive speed and acceleration numbers, going from 0-60 mph in just three seconds and topping out at 110 mph. Sure, 110 mph doesn’t seem awfully fast, but Harley-Davidson motorcycles were never known for being fast. According to testing by CycleWorld, the Livewire ONE lives up to its reputation, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds — a fraction of a second slower than the marketed number.

Interestingly, in terms of acceleration, the Livewire ONE is second only to the FXDR 114, which has a 0-60 mph time of only 2.5 seconds, according to Harley Davidson of Kingwood. Being quick off the line is par for the course for an electric motorcycle, though — there are no gears to cycle through, and electric motor torque is usually much higher at low RPM. The highest top speed for a production Harley-Davidson bike also goes to the FXDR 114, which tops out at a respectable 160 mph, according to Peterson’s Harley-Davidson. As far as the Livewire ONE’s 110 mph top speed, that’s par for the course for Harley-Davidson, with most everything except for the FXDR 114.

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The Most Luxurious Features Of Mariah Carey’s 1.8 Million Dollar RV

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Upon entering you are immediately met by a makeup station with an oversized mirror ringed by “true” makeup lights. On the opposite wall behind the seat is an offset television so the Queen of Christmas can watch her favorite program (through the mirror) while getting properly primped. Dark wood lines the floors, top and bottom (via HotCars). 

This segues into a lounge with a curvy 15-foot custom couch ($7,000) and a 65″ Samsung 9000 connected to a Genelec studio-grade 5.1 surround sound system. The left side slides out 35 feet while the right slides out 25 feet to create a 600-square-foot space for her entourage.

The full gourmet kitchen includes a convection microwave, two-burner induction stove top, Sub-Zero hideaway fridge, and a $4,000 LeveLuk SD501 Platinum Kangen water system. Granite stairs lead from the kitchen to a second floor, where the roof pop-ups via hydraulics to reveal what designer RJ Anderson calls a “skyscraper on wheels” (per Daily Mail via AOL Celebrity Motor Homes).

Huge windows run down each side of the bus providing a nearly 360-degree uninterrupted panoramic view, while a 35-foot wrap-around couch seats 30 people. Not only can the lights be dimmed, but it comes with a color wheel that can turn the area into a proverbial nightclub. Big 60-inch televisions on either end of the room round out the entertainment area (via AOL Celebrity Motor Homes).

Anderson Mobile Estates also operates the 7744 Ranch, a resort outside Austin, Texas, where anyone can book a stay in a previously-owned-by-a-celebrity motor home. One of the five listed is “The Lounge.” However, a promotional video not only says it once belonged to Jennifer Lopez (not Mariah Carey) but looks precisely like Mariah Carey’s from the 2005 “Access Hollywood” segment. 

Now, all we really want for Christmas is some clarification in this great camper caper.

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