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Putin signs law requiring smartphones to have Russian apps

04 December 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a pair of bills Monday, one of which will require all consumer electronic devices sold in the country to be pre-installed with Russian software, while the other will register individual journalists as foreign agents.

The new law would in theory cover anyone who "distributes information" and receives any funding from overseas, which could affect independent journalists and bloggers receiving grants and scholarships.

Should anything a foreign media outlet publish violate Russian regulations, "the new norms allow the Russian government to block the websites of foreign agents or legal entities established by them", TASS reported.

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Foreign agents are those who are involved in politics and receive money from overseas.

Several rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, had called for the initiative to be dropped as it was being approved by lawmakers. The law, which will come into force on July 1 next year, has been met with resistance by some electronics retailers, who say the legislation was adopted without consulting them.

The invoice extends an existing law exciting foreign-funded media outlets.

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It's clear from his remark that the Russian legislation is a response to the sudden prominence of foreign-agent registration, a beforehand obscure requirement greatest recognized to skilled lobbyists, within the Donald Trump-Russia investigations of particular counsel Robert Mueller.

The term foreign agent was used negatively during the Stalinist era in the 1970s and 1980s for opponents accused of being paid by the West.

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Putin signs law requiring smartphones to have Russian apps