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Russia Passes Bill That Could Restrict Internet

Russia's parliament passed a law on Friday to force Internet sites that store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so inside the country. The Kremlin says the move is for data protection but critics see it as an attack on social networks. The law will mean that from 2016, all Internet companies will have to move Russian data onto servers based in Russia or face being blocked from the Web. That would likely affect U.S.-based social networks such as Facebook, analysts say. Coming after new rules requiring blogs attracting more than 3,000 daily visits to register with a communications watchdog and a regulation allowing websites to be shut without a court order, critics say the law is part of a wave of censorship. "The aim of this law is to create ... (another) quasi-legal pretext to close Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other services," Internet expert and blogger Anton Nossik told Reuters.

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— Reuters