Russian parliament is speeding up the enactment of legislation which will require internet companies such as Google and Twitter to store personal data of users from Russia within the country's own borders, reported the Wall Street Journal.
The lower chamber passed a bill Wednesday that will move the deadline from Sept. 1, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2015. The bill will be voted on once more in the lower chamber before it is sent to the upper chamber and on to the Kremlin for approval. The measure was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin in July, but the new proposal will speed up their enactment.
If Google and Twitter fail to relocate data to local Russian servers by the deadline, the U.S.-based companies, who have millions of Russian users, can no longer operate in the country.
It is a security measure designed to counter foreign spying, "citing ever-present hacking threats and an 'information war' being waged against Russia by foreign powers over the crisis in Ukraine," according to Russian authorities, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Yevgeny Fyodorov, co-author of the bill, said that the internet is used to influence and instigate Western-backed anti-government uprisings - to also censor and revise events taking place in Russia.
"All the information is stored there and used against Russia. To avoid this and protect the country, we have to take these objects under national control," he said in an interview with a Russian newspaper.
Russian officials are also moving forward with legislation that will limit foreign ownership of Russian media outlets to 20 percent, and recently passed a law requiring bloggers with over 3,000 daily readers to register with the state.
Putin claimed in April that the Internet was developed as a special project of the Central Intelligence Agency, and said it continues to function as such.