China, Russia to sign treaty combating illegal internet content

By Miles Goscha
1 min read
(Image credit: Bigstock / tang90246)

Russia’s Roskomnadzor internet watchdog agency announced Tuesday plans to sign a cooperation treaty with China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC) on October 20 aimed at stopping the spread of illegal internet content, Reuters reported

Why it matters: The treaty may raise concerns from open-internet advocates, who have criticized the Russian government for taking steps toward implementing Chinese-style cyberspace regulations.

Details: According to Roskomnadzor, the deal is expected to be signed at this year’s World Internet Conference, which is being hosted in the town of Wuzhen in eastern Zhejiang province from October 20 to 22.

  • The exact text of the agreement is still being reviewed by China, but upon ratification it will have the status of an international treaty.

Context: The treaty is a culmination of years of de-facto cooperation between the two agencies, and comes as China and Russia continue to expand relations.

  • Earlier this year, a delegation from the CAC met officials at Roskomnadzor.
  • Internet controls have tightened in the two countries under presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. 
  • In May, Putin signed the Russian Internet (RuNet) law, which among other things, centralizes data traffic and requires telecom operators to install government-provided equipment to combat cyber threats.
  • Last month, Roskomnadzor confirmed to reporters that the “equipment is being installed on the networks of major telecom providers” and RuNet will begin testing in early October.