15 October 2013, 21:26

Snowden effect: business seeks asylum in Russian Internet

Эдвард Сноуден

Edward Snowden’s revelations continue to achieve results. Leaks about global surveillance program US secret services implemented in tandem with European partners made many Internet users to change their virtual location. Among them is the large Najadi&Partners Company which decided to move to the Russian Internet. And this is only the beginning.

Najadi&Partners, a Malaysia-based investment company dealing with direct investments, corporate finance, stock trading and providing advice on merger and takeover deals, announced that it would transfer its servers under jurisdiction of Russia. It means that from that moment on its website will be in domain zone .ru.

Previously, the company worked with western Internet providers having its websites in domain zone .com. However, the information leaked by ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden shed light on US secret services’ large-scale espionage. Pascal Najadi, President of Najadi&Partners, believes the Snowden affair showed how vulnerable US and European segments of the world web were. The domain .com lost its credibility.

“Information confidentiality and its free spreading are very important to us and we’re sure we’ll find them in Russia,” Najadi says.

Speaking about reasons which led him to transferring his company’s websites to Russia, Najadi mentioned that many foreign companies were actually interested in domain zone .ru. However, it’s too early to talk about an intense influx of “resettlers” from western segments of the world web, Alexander Vlasov, a member of the Russian Civic Chamber’s Commission for Law Enforcement Agencies Monitoring, asserts, adding that the situation may change though:

“The statement itself is very indicative as it proves what Russian experts have been saying for a long time now – that Russian secret services don’t spy neither on their companies nor citizens. If certain special tools are used and special operations are conducted, it’s only because they fight against terrorism or extremism,” Vlasov says.

We already saw this before, Andrei Masalovich, the head of the Department for Competitive Intelligence of the DialogNauka company, claims. When terrorists attacked World Trade Center in New York in September 2001, several leading Russian IT companies were contacted by companies from Japan, Taiwan and others. Seeing that an American security model, including Internet security, failed, businessmen decided to look closely at the Russian approach to the matter. Masalovich thinks there is a possibility that Internet users more and more often will be considering the Russian Internet as an alternative to the American and European one.

“It may seem strange but there are not many alternatives. There is a Chinese Internet model but it suits only China. There is an Arab model which is rather alien to other countries. There are also European, American and Russian models. And I think Malaysians felt right that there were more chances to avoid being subjected to US secret services in Russia than in Malaysia,” Masalovich concludes.

However, it can be argued. If we talk about a wide range of users, stunned by the availability of confidential information, we need to remember that more than a million users deleted Facebook accounts after Snowden’s leaks. In fact, we can’t say for sure how many domain name owners would like to move to the Russian Internet, but Internet refugees’ influx from domain zone .com is likely to increase.

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