Russian President warns of foreign threat to 'Net security

International investors in Internet search and social networking sites threaten national security, says Medvedev

Foreign investors in Internet companies pose a potential threat to national security, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned members of the United Russia political party at a meeting on Wednesday.

"Having international investors come to search engines or appear within large social networks is inevitable. But at the same time, ... we need to keep an eye on it, since it is also an issue of security," Medvedev said, according to a transcript of his remarks on the Kremlin's official Web site.

Despite Medvedev's wariness of international investors, he acknowledged that Russia's Internet industry needs fresh financial support.

"Investments must absolutely be made in this sector," he said.

However, those investments can't be left entirely to the market, he said, pointing to the government's investment in Internet access for schools, an initiative he credited with helping the country double the number of Internet users in Russia to around 50 million, over a third of the country's inhabitants.

Without the efforts of the government, "Everything would still develop, but the rate of development would be somewhat slower," he said.

Political parties too need to invest in the Internet, he said, warning: "If a political force is unable to learn to navigate the Internet, it will die." On the other hand, "those ... able to become online 'trend setters' ... will have a political future," he said.

The Web site of the [[xref:http://www.edinros.ru/|United Russia party|

Tags russia

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Peter Sayer

IDG News Service

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