Recent changes in the regulation of the internet in Russia (June 2014)

This report summarizes recent changes to the Russian legal framework applicable to internet service
providers and operators of websites.

There is currently no comprehensive, universal statute or other normative act concerning the regulation of the internet in the Russian Federation. Internet regulation in Russia remains ragmented and mainly legislation applicable to the mass media and the spreading of certain types of information1 has been used to regulate content made available via the internet over the past few years.

The Russian legislator recently made significant amendments to the above legal framework, aimed specifically at gaining more control over content distributed via the internet. Further changes are
currently being discussed.

Blocking of websites

An amendment of the Law on Information, Information Technologies and the Protection of Information came into force in February 2014. It gave the General Procurator the right to require from the regulator of mass media and information (Roscomnadzor) to block websites which were used to provide users with “extremist information”. Before this amendment came into force such measures could be taken by the General Procurator only after obtaining a court order, which is no longer necessary.

In addition, a register of prohibited websites was established. Websites are included in the register and automatically blocked not only on the basis of court decisions concerning the content of such websites, but also on the basis of orders of the Roscomnadzor.

Storage of traffic data

In August 2014, new legislation2 will come into force that will require legal entities which provide internet services to store data concerning the receipt, transmission, delivery and processing of voice, text, image, sound and other types of messages for a period of 6 months and disclose such information to the state authorities upon their request. The data will have to be stored within the territory of the Russian Federation and exact storage procedures are to be specified by the Russian Government.