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Russian officials ignoring restrictions on use of Google, WhatsApp may be sanctioned

August 26, 2015, 15:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev earlier criticized civil servants for using such foreign search engines as Google, Yahoo and WhatsApp and demanded measures be taken
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© AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File

MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. A member of the State Duma’s committee for security and resistance to corruption has suggested imposing sanctions on those civil servants who violate the rules of using Google, WhatsApp and other search engines, adding that work on a relevant bill was already in progress.

"All the necessary bans and a special regimen for using such resources and services may be established at the level of documents issued by the executive authorities and office instructions," Ilya Kostunov told TASS. "As for the responsibility for violating such instructions are concerned, I believe that appropriate amendments should be introduced to the current legislation. He is certain that sanctions must be harsh - from fines to dismissals.

"The work along these lines is already in progress," he said.

Kostunov explained that the key law enforcement-related agencies, such as the federal guard service (FSO), federal security service (FSB) and the Defencse Ministry over the past three years have revised and considerably tightened the rules of using electronic gadgets during special operations. Also, extra measures were taken to rule out leaks to the Internet.

"As far as the regional administrations and regional officials are concerned, they widely use e-mail addresses and search engines that Nikolay Patrushev has mentioned," Kostunov said. He acknowledged that many civil servants in regions were unaware of the risks these resources were fraught with. Also, the responsibility for the leaks or loss of personal data has not been established yet.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev earlier criticized civil servants for using such foreign search engines as Google, Yahoo and WhatsApp and demanded measures be taken to address the issue.

Patrushev said some civil servants’ habit of using foreign resources for official purposes posed major risks. He said officials’ negligence of security rules in using information systems was one of the reasons for the insufficient protection of government and municipal information systems.

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