The Lieberman-Collins-Carper bill is the most comprehensive cybersecurity legislation introduced in this Congress. Other pending legislation includes the Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity Act (S. 773), recently reported by the Commerce Committee, and legislation to strengthen Federal agencies’ information systems that has been attached to the House Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5136) for FY 2011.

Yesterday, Cisco announced a more than one billion dollar initiative to leapfrog innovation in Russia’s ICT sector. As part of the Skolkovo Project, Cisco will establish a physical presence in Skolkovo, relocate employees from its engineering team to the area, and launch Skolkovo as a model for Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities by building networked infrastructure that enables a range of technologies like the smart grid, smarter transportation information hubs, and public safety surveillance hubs.

The release describing the project is short on details, and Cisco’s stated intent to create jobs and improve quality of life for citizens through its Skolkovo operations certainly sounds laudable. But the initiative raises a number of preliminary questions around the potential human rights impact of Cisco’s operations in Russia. Investment in information and communications technology (ICT) can certainly spur innovation and advance economic and social goals. But these same technologies can be easily used by governments to monitor citizens, stifle online political dissent, and jeopardize a range of other human rights. Technology companies must tread carefully lest they become complicit in such state actions, particularly in places where governments have a demonstrated record of human rights violations committed with the aid of ICTs, or the aid of ICT companies themselves.

Russia’s record on human rights online should be raising eyebrows within any company that takes its corporate responsibility seriously. Recent human rights reports describe the government’s expansive online surveillance activities and the intimidation and persecution of Russian bloggers and website owners to stifle content that is critical of incumbents. In many cases, the government enlists the help of local service providers to enable surveillance capability or selectively curb opinion online. An OpenNet Initiative report describes how a set of laws requires ISPs to install monitoring devices on their servers and route all transmissions in real time through Federal Security Service (FSB) offices, and gives the FSB carte blanche access to user information with little oversight. Freedom House has ranked the Russian Internet as only partly free, and Reporters Without Borders has placed Russia under surveillance in its most recent Internet enemies report. The risks to human rights that these trends pose are heightened when we consider that most traditional media within Russia are in some part state controlled, and that the Russian Internet now represents the most open platform for freedom of expression today.

For any responsible ICT company looking to do business in Russia, these reports should prompt key questions: What risks do my products and services pose to freedom of expression and privacy to Russian citizens? What strategies can I adopt to mitigate those risks? How can I avoid complicity in governmental abuses of human rights?

These issues aren’t new; the dialogue around corporate responsibility and human rights in the ICT sector has been ongoing for years. Cisco in particular has testified before Congress twice since 2006 about the human rights implications of its China business operations. And of course, the Global Network Initiative presents a constructive framework for guiding those companies who want to both do well and do good. The direction that Cisco’s Skolkovo Project ultimately takes and its ability to, indeed, improve quality of life by advancing human rights will depend on just how Cisco decides to respond to these key questions of corporate responsibility.

Federal legislation introduced in the Senate this week would give President Obama the power to declare a cybersecurity emergency and then shut down both public and private networks including Internet traffic coming to and from compromised systems.

The proposed legislation, introduced April 1, also would give the President the power to order the disconnection of any Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security.

Some critics of the bill say that phrase needs to be more clearly defined.

We are confident that the communication networks and the Internet would be so designated [as critical infrastructure], so in the interest of national security the president could order them disconnected, said Leslie Harris, president and CEO at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), which promotes democratic values and constitutional liberties for the digital age.

Harris and the CDT don’t think such sweeping power is good news for anyone, including private networks that could be shut down by government order. Those same networks would be subject to government mandated security standards and technical configurations.

The bill says the president must have a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy in place 12 months after the bill passes.

This is pretty sweeping legislation, says Harris. Seems the President could turn off the Internet completely or tell someone like Verizon to limit or block certain traffic. There is a lot to worry about in this bill.

In addition, an agency appointed by the President would control how and when systems are restored.

The power could conceivably extend to large service provider networks such as those run by Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo and others who offer online services and applications to corporations and consumers.

We are currently studying this legislation, said Dan Martin, a spokesman for Google. Security has been a priority at Google from the beginning of the company we recognize that secure products are instrumental in maintaining the trust our users place in us.

Proponents including officials from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) say the legislation is comprehensive and strong and reflects the need for thorough debate around digital security that is long overdue.

The bill was introduced by West Virginia Democratic Sen. John Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican from Maine.

Rockefeller said in a statement the bill loosely parallels the recommendations presented in December to Obama by a CSIS panel. The panel recommended naming an assistant for cyberspace and a National Security Council (NSC) director to coordinate government response to cyber threats.

The 51-page Rockefeller/Snowe bill calls for the appointment of a National Cybersecurity Advisor that reports directly to the President.

Russia's External Intelligence Service (SVR) is the current incarnation of one of the world's oldest and most extensive espionage agencies, known for decades as the KGB.

It officially celebrates its 90th birthday in 2010, tracing its lineage back to the Soviet Union's NKVD Foreign Department, set up on 20 December 1920.

The KGB (Committee of State Security) surfaced in the 1950s, when it was officially known as the KGB's First Main Directorate, to distinguish it from the domestic secret police.

The SVR's closeness to the Kremlin is underlined by the fact that its current director, Mikhail Fradkov, and one of his predecessors, Yevgeny Primakov, both served as prime ministers of Russia.

But it is the current Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, who is undoubtedly the service's best-known graduate, having served as an agent in East Germany in the 1980s.

Today the SVR describes itself as a "modern special service employing talented, ambitious people devoted to the Motherland and their military duty".

The Kremlin’s human rights council has opposed the idea of expanding the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) powers, saying it is anti-constitutional and would be a revival of the worst practices of a totalitarian state.

Russia’s Presidential Council on Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights has appealed to President Medvedev and suggested that the State Duma immediately suspends the process of the adoption of amendments to the law that would give a lot more power to the FSB.

Initiated by the government, the bill would allow the FSB to issue warnings to people it believes are about to commit a crime and threaten, fine, or even arrest for up to 15 days for disobeying its orders.

The FSB would be allowed to summon citizens and publicly make such warnings. No grounds would be required for such measures to be taken and there would be no need [for the FSB] to follow procedures set by the law for limiting citizens’ freedom, the presidential human rights watchdog statement reads as published on their website.

The body studied the document and presented to the head of state its legal analysis, which proves that the draft is anti-constitutional, and would be a political mistake.

Such a revival of the worst and illegal practices of a totalitarian state aimed at spreading fear and distrust among people can be seen by society only as a suppression of civil freedoms and dissent, the council stated.

Back then the news rocked the socially active part of Russia’s society, with many seeing the move as a comeback to Soviet-time repressions and direct violation of human rights.

On June 23, following the fierce response from human rights activists, the United Russia faction called for an amendment to the bill, Itar-Tass reported.

Meanwhile, the FSB is reportedly working on amendments to yet another law - On Information - which would oblige internet providers to shut down websites on the prosecutor’s demand without a court decision. Vedomosti daily writes that the FSB suggests that providers under a "motivated letter" from a law enforcement agency would have to close domains. The measures will supposedly be aimed at fighting extremism.

In addition, internet providers could be obliged to keep data on all their users and all the services they got for half a year and provide that information on demand of the law enforcement agencies.

NKVD (Russian: Narodnyi komissariat vnutrennikh del; Ukrainian: NKVS, or Narodnyi komisariiat vnutrishnikh sprav [People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs]) = a ministry of theSoviet government responsible for security and law enforcement that was set up on 7 November 1917 and reorganized as the MVD on 19 March 1946.

During its history the NKVD underwent numerous organizational and functional changes: sometimes, as in 1922-3, 1934-41, and 1941-3, it encompassed not only the secret political police and foreign intelligence but also the regular police force, the border guards, and the prison system. At other times, as in 1917-22, 1923-34, 1941, and 1943-6, it was divided into two separate agencies, one responsible for state security and the other for law enforcement. These changes were due to political rather than administrative factors. The NKVD's notoriety as an instrument of terror belongs to the periods when the state security apparatus came under its jurisdiction (July 1934 to April 1943, except for February-July 1941).

At first the Cheka and the NKVD were independent and often competing institutions. When F. Dzerzhinsky, the founder and chief of the Cheka, replaced Hryhorii Petrovsky as head of the NKVD, in March 1919, the institutional friction between the two agencies subsided. Petrovsky's predecessor was A. Rykov, who headed the NKVD only briefly, in 1917. The new permanent state security organ, the GPU, which replaced the ad hoc and temporary Cheka in February 1922, came under the NKVD. TheUnified State Political Administration ( OGPU), which succeeded the GPU in November 1923, was separated from the NKVD until July 1934, when it was renamed the Main Administration of State Security (GUGB) and subordinated to the NKVD. Republican commissariats of internal affairs had been abolished in 1930. After F. Dzerzhinsky's death (1926) the NKVD was headed by V. Menzhinsky until May 1934.

The unified NKVD (1934-41) consisted of numerous main administrations and departments of Union, republic, and lower levels. The main administrations were state security (Main Administration of State Security), the corrective slave-labor camps (Gulag), the border and internal troops (GUPVO), the worker-peasant militia, and the fire service (GUPO), all of which were established in July 1934. Later the main administrations of state surveying and cartography, highways, andweights and measures were added to the NKVD. The commissariat also had an administrative-economic administration, a department of acts of civil status, and a department of colonization. It is evident from its structure that the NKVD was much more than an organ of state security. In fact in the 1930s and 1940s its economic role was most conspicuous. Because it ran a vast network of labor camps, prisons, and other economic enterprises, the NKVD has been called the USSR's largest employer. Its labor reserves were used in numerous large-scale construction projects, lumbering, and gold mining, and its contribution to the Soviet economy was factored into the five-year plans.

The closed city of Seversk, formerly known as Tomsk-7, is best known as the home of one of the largest weapons-grade plutonium production enterprises in the world, the Siberian Chemical Combine. It is the largest closed territory (ZATO) in Russia, covering around 19 sq km, and has a population of around 120,000.

The Soviets made the decision to build a major nuclear complex at Seversk in 1949, located 12 km from Tomsk. The facility officially opened five years later. The SCC plant became the largest atomic complex in the Russian Minatom system, and was the first equipped to complete the entire nuclear-fuel cycle. The new city of Seversk grew rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s to support the expanding nuclear industry. However, after the introduction of Gorbachev's perestroika reforms in 1987, the plant went into a decline, and, as the government began to cut back on its military expenditure, Seversk became the first city in Minatom's system to start decommissioning its atomic reactors. In August 1990, the first of the three reactors (I-1) at Plant#5 was closed, followed by EI-2 in December 1990, and AD-3 in August 1992. The issue of the re-employment of former nuclear military personnel became a major issue, and remains so today.

The Soviet government made the decision to establish a large military nuclear combine outside Tomsk in March 1949. The site had good access to water and building materials, and was well placed strategically. The new industrial complex, code named Combine #816, was based on similar complexes at Combines ## 817 and 813 (now known as MAYAK and the Uralian Electro Chemical Combine). The aim was to integrate all the production stages of the nuclear cycle on one site. This included uranium isotope separation production and a reactor plant to produce plutonium. The plan was to create a sublimated plant to produce uranium hexane fluoride, the raw material for uranium isotope separation.

In the post war period, construction work was hampered by lack of resources, and the high level of secrecy surrounding the programme. Progress was also slowed by the remoteness of the site, and the lack of specialist construction staff. The workforce, made up largely of military construction personnel and prisoners, faced harsh conditions. They were often moved from place to place, and living conditions were spartan. Workers lived in temporary housing, with dozens sharing one room heated with a small stove. Roads for the new settlements were simply cut out of the forests, and there was little medical support.

However, pressure mounted on the workers to speed up production, and in 1951 work began on the first buildings of the new diffusion plant, known at varying times as the turbulent plant, "T" facility; or Unit #1. Construction also started on a sublimation plant (known later as "S" Facility or Unit #10), to produce raw materials for isotope separation. Facilities also came on line to produce uranium tetra-fluoride, uranium hexane fluoride, anhydrous fluoride hydrogen and hydrofluoric acids. Work on the reactor plant at Construction Site #2 began in spring 1952 with the combine producing its first enriched uranium a year later.

A new settlement grew up alongside the combine, and although it was named Seversk in 1954, it was known for many years afterwards as Tomsk-7. A number of other construction enterprises also came into being at this time. The construction of the first reactor started in March 1952 and was completed in November 1955. The severe Siberian weather posed a challenge, as even metal could not stand up to the low temperatures. A huge canvas roof was used to cover the construction site, with two steam engines running underneath to provide heating.

The development of the Siberian nuclear power station began in 1954. This is also the year that the Obninsk nuclear power plant near Moscow became the first in the world to supply energy to the national grid. The energy complex had two purposes, to produce weapon-grade plutonium and electricity. Construction began in 1956, with work on the EI-2 reactor commencing two years later, when industrial operation of the reactor began. At the same time work began on the second stage of the atomic power station based on AD-type reactors. The first reactor, AD-3 went into operation in July 1961 with new generation reactors, AD-4 and AD-5 following, based on the EI-2 and AD-3 reactors.

Work on the radio-chemical plant ("B" Facility; Unit #15) began in 1956 under the auspices of the country's leading nuclear institutes, the Institute of Atomic Energy after I.V. Kurchatov. (The Radium Institute and Institute of Chemical Technologies (VNIICHT; NII-10)). In 1958 work began on the Chemical-Metallurgical Plant ("M" Facility; Unit#25), which is a modern industrial complex processing uranium tetra-hexane-fluoride. The plant includes facilities for chemical-metallurgical work and casting, as well as sealing of production for nuclear charges. New technologies were developed for using metallic uranium and plutonium in manufacture at NII-9 (VNIINM) and NII-10 (VNIICHT). The technical documentation was carried out by Arzamas-16 (VNIIEF). When both plants went into operation in 1961 the Combine succeeded in running the entire production complex, ensuring a closed technological cycle.

Although Seversk is still dominated by the Siberian Chemical Combine, which remains one of the largest nuclear complexes in the world, comprising of nine plants, with adjoining research and design institutes, the number of new enterprises is growing. At the beginning of 2003, there were 1,570 companies and enterprises registered in the ZATO, employing around a third of the working population. In 2004, the start-up of a new company, OOO Chemvolokno led to 150 new jobs. Production in the ZATO area continues to rise, up by 12 % in 2003 over the previous year, and up 6% in 2004.

In the 1930s the Main Administration of State Security (GUGB) constituted the central agency of the NKVD. The GUGB was subdivided into six major departments: special, economic, operative, foreign, transport, and political. The first kept the military under surveillance and was a key source of information on anti-Soviet groups. The economic department was responsible for combating economic sabotage in industry and agriculture. The operative department guarded the top leaders, including Joseph Stalin, and key installations. Foreign espionage and the use of terror abroad came under the foreign department. The transport department protected the transportation network and important shipments in transit. Finally, the political department dealt with political opposition groups and oversaw all organizations. Besides these departments, the GUGB included some technical sections.

The consolidated NKVD was directed by G. Yagoda (July 1934 to September 1936), N. Yezhov (to December 1938) (see Yezhov terror), and L. Beria (to February 1941, and July 1941 to April 1943). The NKVD played the dominant role in the terror of the 1930s, in which it carried out countless arrests, interrogations, and executions. Its special boards were empowered to sentence people for up to five years' imprisonment without judicial process. The secret police became the primary pillar of Stalin's personal dictatorship: it was deployed not only against the general population and the intelligentsia, but also against the Party, the military, and the government. The Communist Party of Ukraine and Ukrainian government leaders, who had shown a reluctance to extend the purge, were decimated by arrests and executions in 1937-8. From September 1937 the republic was virtually governed by the NKVD. The NKVD played a central role in the show trials of old Bolsheviks, such as N. Bukharin, L. Kamenev, andGrigorii Zinovev, and in Leon Trotsky's assassination. It was responsible for the massacre of over 9,000 people in Vinnytsia in 1937-8 (see Vinnytsia massacre) and of some 4,000 Polish officers in Katyn Forest in 1940. Ironically, Stalin turned the NKVD upon itself: its last three chiefs along with thousands of their followers were destroyed in the great terror of the late 1930s or in the succession struggle after Stalin's death.

During the Second World War the NKVD and the People's Commissariat of State Security (NKGB) were involved separately in various phases of state security. They provided military assistance to thearmed forces, organized Soviet partisans (see Soviet partisans in Ukraine, 1941-5), and engaged in intelligence and counterintelligence activities. At the start of the German offensive in 1941, they brutally executed thousands ofpolitical prisoners held in their prisons in Western Ukraine. After the war they administered mass deportations of Ukrainians, Balts, and other non-Russians from the newly annexed territories and suppressed anti-Soviet underground organizations and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. In January 1946 L. Beria was replaced by S. Kruglov as head of the NKVD, and in March the NKVD was renamed the MVD. The general substitution of ‘ministry’ for ‘commissariat’ was meant to de-emphasize the revolutionary character of the Soviet government.