Putin: The Internet is a CIA project

The Russian president, currently waging emotional warfare against Western influence, insists the Internet didn't merely begin as a CIA project, it allegedly continues to develop as one.

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He's not happy that he didn't invent the Internet. RT/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I'd always wondered how the Internet had come about.

I'm always suspicious, you see, of the legends that are formed after something becomes famous, or even ubiquitous.

Just as I'm not convinced that there really is a Bitcoin founder called Satoshi Nakamoto, I wonder whether anyone has really delved into the background of the man generally known as Tim Berners-Lee.

Might he be an actor? Might he have a resume that goes beyond computer science and into other, more recondite areas?

I merely muse such things, because the man often known for presenting an objective perspective to an objecting world, Russian President Vladimir Putin, revealed on Thursday that the Internet isn't what you think it is.

Indeed, as the Associated Press reports, he described it as "a CIA project."

Those with minds as wide as grand canyons will mutter that, of course, everything technological always begins with some sort of defense application.

However, Russia's supreme leader went further than to merely suggest the Web's genesis was in the CIA's bosom. For he said that the Web "continues as such."

It's a touch disturbing to imagine that the CIA is so moved by cat videos and other related silliness. Could it be that "I Can Has Cheeseburger" is really code for "I Can Has Nuclear Weapons"?

If this is the case, then it's odd that it's taken Putin so long to reach this conclusion.

Indeed, in recent times, Pavel Durov, the CEO of Russia's version of Facebook -- VKontakte -- was removed and replaced by someone no doubt more amenable to Russia's version of the CIA.

Durov wrote a Facebook post that suggested rather uneliptically that Russia wasn't a good place for an Internet business just now.

It seems that one of Putin's sudden concerns is that so much information about Russians is being stored on servers abroad.

Some might imagine he'd have already been familiar with the concept of storing things abroad, as so many Russian oligarchs store their money abroad too.

What is it that they don't trust about their own country's systems?

Of course, it could be that Putin wasn't entirely au fait with this Web thing at all, preferring to make continual episodes of a new film tentatively entitled "Salmon Fishing on the Volga."

It might also be that he took tea with current guest Edward Snowden, in order to catch up a little on how the other side lives, surfs and spies.

Still, Snowden managed to help Putin reassure all Russians when he asked the president on TV whether Mother Russia spies on its people, just as Father America does.

Putin's answer was bathed in modesty: "On such a mass scale, we do not allow ourselves to do this, and we will never allow this. We do not have the money or the means to do that."

Ah, if only we all had the money to do exactly what we want.

Of course, no one really thought through this Internet thing anyway. The lack of security is palpable to the point of being laughable. Information drips out, as if a rogue handyman had done the plumbing.

So you can understand that Putin, being a strongman, is keen to bare his chest and defend Russian interests.

These seem to include blocking the websites of Russians such as chess legend, democracy activist and (therefore) anti-Putinist, Gary Kasparov.

In the end, the Web is just like Crimea. It's full of people just waiting to be liberated.

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