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Russian top lawmaker urges to give up idea of mobile phone eavesdropping at workplaces

May 12, 2016, 12:12 UTC+3

The lawmaker responded to the news on Wednesday that a system had been developed in Russia that would allow controlling mobile phone conversations of companies’ employees

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© Denis Vyshinskiy/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, May 12. /TASS/. The speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament said on Thursday he was against the idea of employers’ possibility to eavesdrop on their employees’ mobile phone conversations in workplaces.

"I’m convinced that this measure is possible only with the voluntary consent of an employee," State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin has said.

"Even in the case of an employee’s voluntary consent to the use of this instrument towards the employee, I agree that abuses are possible. I believe it is better to give it up [this idea]," Naryshkin told journalists.

The lower house speaker thus responded to a request to comment on the news on Wednesday that a system had been developed in Russia that would allow controlling mobile phone conversations of companies’ employees during their stay in offices.

It was earlier reported that InfoWatch, an information security company run by Natalia Kaspersky, had developed a system that would allow employers to intercept and analyze the content of employees’ mobile phone conversations.

A machine will read deciphered conversations instead of a human operator and, consequently, as Natalya Kaspersky says, the citizens’ constitutional rights to the secrecy of communications won’t be violated.

Russian presidential aide calls cell phone eavesdropping in workplaces illegal

The practice when employers eavesdrop on their employees’ cell phone conversations in offices is illegal, even at restricted access enterprises, Russian presidential adviser on the Internet and Chairman of the Council of the Internet Development Institute Herman Klimenko said on Wednesday.

Media reports earlier said that the new system developed in Russia would intercept mobile phone conversations’ traffic and highlight key words with the help of the speech identification device.

"No doubt, an employer wants to know everything about employees, especially at enterprises with restricted access or commercial secrets," Klimenko said in an interview with radio station Govorit Moskva (Moscow Speaking).

"Technically, this is not difficult. Another point is that there is the notion of legality. At the current moment, we know that eavesdropping is a criminal offence without the authorization of a court of law or a decision by the relevant law-enforcement agencies," Klimenko said.

In the adviser’s opinion, "some amendments have to be made to legislation" to resolve the problem of confidential information leaks. However, the presidential adviser said that "our society is not quite ready for such stories.".

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