27 June 2016
Russia’s parliament has passed an anti-terrorism law which NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden say will roll back personal freedoms and privacy.
Other campaigners agree with Snowden as they deemed the amendment as a harsh anti-terrorism measure.
Snowden, who has lived in Russia since receiving asylum in 2013, on Saturday called the amendment the “Big Brother law” via a tweet.
He described it as an “unworkable, unjustifiable violation of rights” that would “take money and liberty from every Russian without improving safety”.
The legislation makes it a crime to not warn authorities of “reliable” information about planned terrorist attacks, armed uprisings, hijacking and several other crimes.
Expressing approval of terrorism on the internet will now be punishable with up to seven years in prison. Encouraging people to take part in “mass disturbances” will become a crime punishable by five to 10 years in prison.
The lower house of the Russian parliament voted 325 to 1 on Friday to adopt the “Yarovaya law”.
The law was authored by the ruling United Russia party member Irina Yarovaya who is known for previous legislative crackdowns on protesters and non-governmental organisations.
The legislation was adopted as a response to the October bombing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt.
According to the Guardian, there is a high percentage of possibility that the law will be passed by the upper chamber and signed into law by Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
The legislation also obliges telephone and internet providers to store records of all communications for six months and all metadata for three years, as well as help intelligence agencies decode encrypted messaging services.
The law also restricts missionary work to specially designated areas. This one in particular has caused outrage and criticism from Muslim, Jewish and Russian Orthodox organisations.
Tanya Lokshina, the Russia programme director for Human Rights Watch, called it an attack on freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and the right to privacy that gives law enforcement unreasonably broad powers.