July 17, 2019 / 2:49 PM / 3 months ago

Chinese, Russian cyber watchdogs meet in Moscow

MOSCOW, July 17 (Reuters) - A delegation from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which oversees national cyber policy, met officials at Russia’s state communications watchdog in Moscow on Wednesday, the Russian regulator said.

Critics have accused Russia’s authorities of trying to implement creeping China-style Internet curbs. Cooperation in this area between the two regulators could alarm Russian proponents of Internet freedom.

The presence of the Chinese delegation in Moscow has not previously been reported.

Officials from China’s CAC were also expected on Wednesday to visit the offices of Russian Internet giant Yandex, often referred to as Russia’s Google, and Internet security firm Kaspersky Labs, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Russian state telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor said in a statement that it had discussed cooperation with the Chinese and had agreed on further meetings in the future.

Yandex and Kaspersky Labs declined to comment when asked about the Chinese delegation. The CAC did not immediately reply to a faxed request for comment.

Internet controls have tightened in Russia under President Vladimir Putin and in China under President Xi Jinping.

In China, that effort has accelerated since 2016, as the ruling Communist Party seeks to crack down on dissent in the booming social media landscape. [nL4N1XQ248

Russia has introduced tougher Internet laws in the last five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and social networks to store user data on servers in the country.

Roskomnadzor, which is responsible for enforcing the Internet laws, moved to block the Telegram messaging service in April 2018 after it declined to hand over its encryption keys to Russia’s security service. (Reporting by Nadezhda Tsydenova and Tom Balmforth in MOSCOW and Min Zhao in BEIJING; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Christian Lowe)

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