Posted by Kalyani M. on Sep 6, 2013
Recently Russia awarded NSA leaker Edward Snowden with a year of asylum. But at the same time that officials were granting the whistleblower a temporary from the U.S., the country enacted new anti-piracy laws that jeopardize online liberty, freedom of speech, and economic growth in Russia. Enterprises that work in the country or target Russian consumers should be aware of what these laws entail and how they might impact future business. And in the midst of cyber warfare, legal surveillance, and breaches of privacy, all organizations should proactively guard their data through secure cloud services. With strong encryption and a guarantee not to host encryption keys or plaintext, the secure cloud is quickly becoming the last bastion of privacy on the net.
One of the recently enacted bills blocks any site that is deemed to support or aid in copyright infringement. This strict measure even applies to posting links to torrent sites like PirateBay. Nicknamed the “Russian SOPA”, the bill was ironically ushered in to law the same day that Snowden was granted asylum, indicating to what extent the whistleblower is being used by major nations for this dramatic episode of international political theatre. Other proposed legislation, such as the one sponsored by State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina that seeks to ban sites featuring curse words.
Another bill allegedly protects children by giving the government authority to blacklist any site with exploitative material. Critics of this proposed legislation claim that it is being used a way to handover more censorship rights to the government and that it is unclear as to what would be deemed exploitative. As Yelena Kolmanovskaya, chief editor of Yandex, says, “ The need to fight child pornography and illegal content are as important for civil society as the support of constitutional principles like freedom of speech and access [to] information.” But she adds “The proposed methods provide a means for possible abuse and raise numerous questions from the side of users and representatives of Internet companies.” But the bill’s sponsor Mizulina has harsh words for critics, claiming that “The online community initiated the need for adopting this law themselves, that’s why I’m sure not all of the online community is against it – just certain circles that can be associated with the pedophilia lobby.”
The reason that the demonized critics of such legislation are so strongly opposed to a bill that would purportedly protect innocent children is that there are no transparency measures or checks and balances set in place to rein in the government from censoring anything they deem unfit for public viewing. Through such legislation the government could silence dissent and usher in a new era of Russian oppression. The law allows censors to blacklist IP addresses instead of the URLs that are allegedly the source and hosts of banned content. This results in collateral damage as many sites are brought down without having committed any crimes or having anything to do with the questionable content under investigation.
As Russian reporter Alexey Eremenko notes, “About 150 websites were on the blacklist as of July 1, but another 6,800 unrelated sites fell victim to the ban because the government is using a flawed blocking mechanism… according to independent internet watchdog Rublacklist.net”. This puts enterprises at risk of Russian espionage, censorship, and even blacklisting.
The good news is that some national and international enterprises are fighting back. The top Russian global investment firm, VTB Capital sent a letter to clients regarding the law, which partially states, “The new law makes it possible to shut down unwanted Internet resources by linking any piracy video to the website and submitting a lawsuit.” Russian websites have also banded together in the thousands to deliver a petition to the Russian parliament. But instead of relying on the Russian government to get its house in transparent order, enterprises should shield their sensitive data from all sides through the secure cloud.
Secure Cloud Solutions for Enterprises
For most enterprises, finding a truly protected third party cloud service can be a challenge as many “secure” services on the market have security gaps that leave sensitive corporate data wide open to third party attacks, leaks, or hacking. One cloud storage and sync service that sets itself apart from the rest of the market is SpiderOak Blue. This service provides SMEs and Fortune 1000s with fully private cloud storage and syncing, featuring all of the benefits of the cloud along with 100% data privacy. SpiderOak is available with onsite deployment and private servers or outsourced deployment through a hybrid cloud, so that businesses of all sorts and sizes can tailor the service to fit their needs.
SpiderOak protects sensitive enterprise data with 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts and network devices can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices because SpiderOak never hosts any plaintext data. SpiderOak’s cross-platform cloud services are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing for full flexibility and enabling a mobile workforce.