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Putin Trolls Facebook

Privacy and Moscow's New Data Laws

A participant wears a sticker with the word "Obey!" during an opposition protest on Revolution square in central Moscow, February 26, 2012. Denis Sinyakov / Reuters

Thanks to a new Russian government program, the privacy and security of those who use the world’s most popular online platforms—including Facebook, Google, and Twitter—are at risk. The companies involved have yet to say how they plan to respond. They should speak up now. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long sought to control the Internet in Russia. Spooked by the Arab Spring and street protests in Moscow in 2011–12, both organized through Twitter and Facebook, Putin has tried everything from filtering the Internet at the nationwide level to introducing blacklists of websites and deploying cutting-edge online surveillance technologies. In the spring of this year, Russian officials even ran a simulation in which they cut off the country from the global Internet during a political crisis. Like other initiatives before it, though, the attempt failed. The big national operators duly complied with a government request to cut off traffic,

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