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Eurobites: Russia Tightens Grip on Internet

Paul Rainford
8/11/2014
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Netflix on a roll in UK; Xbox gets free-to-air tuner option; faster broadband ups online spend.

  • Russia is clamping down further on Internet use within its borders, issuing a decree stating that people wanting to use public WiFi hotspots need to provide ID first, reports Reuters. Also, companies will have to be prepared to reveal, if asked by the authorities, who is using their web networks. President Vladimir Putin said that the laws were needed to combat "extremism" and "terrorism."

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is going great guns in the UK, with more than one in ten households having signed up to the movie and TV streaming service, reports the Daily Telegraph, citing a survey by Enders Analysis. Enders estimates that more than 3 million households are on Netflix, putting it comfortably ahead of its nearest rival, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). Netflix, however, is expecting its losses to soar to US$42 million in the third quarter of 2014 (from $15.3 million in the second quarter) as it launches its service in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg next month. (See Eurobites: Netflix to Take Euro Hit in Q3.)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is introducing a free-to-air digital TV tuner for its Xbox One gaming console in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, reports Digital TV Europe. The tuner, which will cost just short of €30 ($40) in mainland Europe, will allow Xbox users to watch free-to-air TV without the need for a cable or satellite set-top box.

  • It's true: the faster their broadband, the more stuff people buy online. At least that's the finding of a study by the Royal Mail, the UK's postal service, reports the Daily Telegraph. According to the study, the average Briton spends an additional £23 ($38) a year on online purchases, once he or she has been upgraded from standard broadband to the fiber-based or "super-fast" variety. Incidentally, today marks the 20th anniversary of the world's first online purchase: On August 11 1994 some poor fool parted with $12.48 plus shipping for "Ten Summoner's Tales," a CD by Sting, the croaky-voiced bass-botherer.

    Sting (left of picture): Online shopping had to start somewhere.
    Sting (left of picture): Online shopping had to start somewhere.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Ariella
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    Ariella,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/11/2014 | 9:42:49 AM
    first online purchase
    Good to know if it every comes up as a question on a quiz show
    Susan Fourtané
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    Susan Fourtané,
    User Rank: Blogger
    8/11/2014 | 9:47:46 AM
    Russia's bubble
    It seems like Russia is creating a very closed bubble, isolating itself from the rest of the world. Is it really a way to combat "extremism" and "terrorism" to submit the country's citizens to live in an open prison?

    It's not only this Internet issue and overcontrol of the Internet providers and networks. Russia is also closing its borders to the import of goods from other nations.

    There is a banning for the importing of meat, fish, dairy products, and fruits and vegetables from the EU, US, Canada, Norway, and Australia. 

     -Susan
    brooks7
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    brooks7,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/11/2014 | 10:36:06 AM
    Re: Russia's bubble
    Susan,

    So what do you think of China's Internet Policies?

    seven

     
    DHagar
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    DHagar,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/11/2014 | 8:59:55 PM
    Re: First Online Purchase
    @Ariella, there you go - good point - you can beat Watson now!
    DHagar
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    DHagar,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/11/2014 | 9:04:36 PM
    Re: Russia's Bubble
    @Seven, you are correct about China - they just raided Microsoft's offices again.

    I agree with Susan, that Russia is aggressively taking steps backward into isolation.  Both countries are trying to limit the use of the internet.  It will be interesting to see if they can "contain" the use and the freedoms people have begun to feel entitled to.
    Susan Fourtané
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    Susan Fourtané,
    User Rank: Blogger
    8/16/2014 | 2:48:33 AM
    Re: Russia's Bubble
    DHagar, 

    Yes. And younger people are not going to tolerate it. They are going to fly away elsewhere, especially those involved in tech startups.

    -Susan 
    SachinEE
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    SachinEE,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/12/2014 | 2:22:28 PM
    Limited internet?
    Russia is at it again, segregating itself from the rest of the world. When they banned import of some goods from other countries, it was some what understandable because at the very least, we thought that they were stable enough to produce those goods on their own and now they have come up with limited use of internet. How can you limit internet use? Why would they even put up public Wi-Fi hotspots when people will have to produce their identity cards to enjoy this service? All this in the name of stopping terrorism and extremism. It doesn't make any sense.
    DHagar
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    DHagar,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/18/2014 | 1:21:29 PM
    Re: Russia's Bubble
    @Susan, good points!  Young people will not accept the choices Russia is making for them.  And you are right, they will want to take advantage of technology, not be left out of the game.
    DHagar
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    DHagar,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/18/2014 | 1:25:55 PM
    Re: Limited Internet
    @SachinEE, true - which goes to show that their government is not truly interested in the people, but in maintaining power.  Their hidden agendas are becoming more revealing - their stated positions no longer make sense.
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