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Russian Lawmakers Come Up In Support For Bill on ‘Sovereign’ Internet

The bill faces two more votes in the lower chamber, before it is voted on in the upper house of parliament and then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

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The coat of arms of Russia is reflected in a laptop screen in this picture illustration taken Feb. 12, 2019. Pixabay

Russian lawmakers backed tighter internet controls on Tuesday to defend against foreign meddling in draft legislation that critics warn could disrupt Russia’s internet and be used to stifle dissent.

The legislation, which some Russian media have likened to an online “iron curtain,” passed its first of three readings in the 450-seat lower chamber of parliament.

The bill seeks to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by state authorities and proposes building a national Domain Name System to allow the internet to continue functioning even if the country is cut off from foreign infrastructure.

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The legislation, which some Russian media have likened to an online “iron curtain,” passed its first of three readings in the 450-seat lower chamber of parliament. Pixabay

The legislation was drafted in response to what its authors describe as an aggressive new U.S. national cybersecurity strategy passed last year.

The Agora human rights group said earlier this month that the legislation was one of several new bills drafted in December that “seriously threaten Internet freedom.”

The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has said the bill poses more of a risk to the functioning of the Russian internet segment than the alleged threats from foreign countries that the bill seeks to counter.

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The Agora human rights group said earlier this month that the legislation was one of several new bills drafted in December that “seriously threaten Internet freedom.” Pixabay

The bill also proposes installing network equipment that would be able to identify the source of web traffic and also block banned content.

The legislation, which can still be amended, but which is expected to pass, is part of a drive by officials to increase Russian “sovereignty” over its internet segment.

Also Read: Now Russian Telecom Watchdog To Direct Facebook, Twitter to Localise Users’ Database

Russia has introduced tougher internet laws in the last five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.

The bill faces two more votes in the lower chamber, before it is voted on in the upper house of parliament and then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.(VOA)

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Is Internet Usage In India Calculated In A right Manner?

According to industry experts, the research methodology to derive the average number of Internet users would entail a large-format survey.

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According to Mohanty, Internet usage is calculated based on the number of people using Internet. Pixabay

If we look at government or independent research figures, Internet users in India are growing exponentially — currently hovering around 560 million and likely to cross 600 million by the end of the year.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India has amn Internet subscriber base of nearly 560 million, including 482 million broadband subscribers – which means 43 per cent overall Internet penetration.

The country has 366 million Internet subscribers in urban locations and 194 million in rural areas, says the latest TRAI report that came out in December.

The “ICUBETM 2018” report from market research firm Kantar IMRB said this week that the number of Internet users in the country will reach 627 million by the end of this year.

The numbers are overwhelming but when it comes to the methodology behind deriving the average number of Internet users, there appears some gap.

For example, if a person in a family has 2 mobile numbers and he or she uses multiple devices for Internet access, how is that accounted for?

According to industry experts, the research methodology to derive the average number of Internet users would entail a large-format survey.

“Such a survey would typically cover 50,000 to 1,00,000 households in India, spread across urban and rural India, and covering all socio-economic classes (SEC) segments,” says Satya Mohanty, Head-User Research Practice, CyberMedia Research (CMR).

According to Mohanty, Internet usage is calculated based on the number of people using Internet.

“Therefore, if in one household, there are three people using one device PC/smartphone, then it is calculated as three users instead of one user,” he told IANS.

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The numbers are overwhelming but when it comes to the methodology behind deriving the average number of Internet users, there appears some gap. Pixabay

The average number of users derived from the sample survey is extrapolated to the total number of households in India to find out total number of users.

“For example, consider that the survey findings point to the average number of Internet users per household being 2.5. And, in India, there is 250 million households. Replicating the average figure of 2.5 with the total number of households, we have 625 million Internet users in India,” Mohanty elaborated.

According to Kantar IMRB, their latest “ICUBETM 2018” report covered over 70,000 individuals, selected through a sampling process across over 400 urban areas and more than 1,500 rural locations.

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“As data costs plummeted, more Indians than ever before are experiencing broadband for the first time on mobile”. Pixabay

“ICUBE members are of users and not subscribers. Thus people carrying multiple phones will be counted as a single user,” Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice President, Kantar IMRB, told IANS.

Similarly, Bhattacharjee added, a person using his or her spouses/parents’ phone for Internet access will also be counted as an Internet user.

One thing, however, is clear: the data usage is growing thanks to Reliance Jio, along with the increasing number of smartphone and entry-level feature phone users.

Also Read: Syria Rejects OPCW Report, States It “Full Of Flagrant Falsification Of Facts”

“Jio has been a transformative force in enabling digital inclusion, by connecting the unconnected. Since its foray, Jio has achieved a remarkable feat of covering 95 per cent of India’s population with aggressive 4G network roll-out aided by innovative pricing strategy,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, told IANS.

“As data costs plummeted, more Indians than ever before are experiencing broadband for the first time on mobile,” Ram added. (IANS)