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Russian security services may get access to internet users’ personal data

October 22, 2013, 12:30 UTC+3

Some communications service providers have already called a number of provisions of the order unconstitutional

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MOSCOW, October 22 (Itar-Tass). — The order of the Russian Communications Ministry, according to which security services may get full access to the data of Internet users, including the telephone numbers, IP-addresses, account names and email addresses of citizens, is now being discussed in Russia. The draft order that had been prepared in spring, has recently been preliminarily approved by the Federal Security Service (FSB) and is now to pass registration with the Ministry of Justice, the Kommersant daily learned from sources in the telecommunications market. It is the Internet service providers that will be obligated to assist the security services - in particular, to help them connect their networks to the special equipment for recording and storing Internet traffic. They will be required to do by July 1, 2014.

Some communications service providers, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper notes, have already called a number of provisions of the order unconstitutional. The publication quotes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June 2013 statement as he was commenting on the U.S. eavesdropping scandal.

“In general, these techniques are in demand. The question is how they are controlled by the society. For example, in Russia, wiretapping is illegal, that’s for sure, I can tell you, without a corresponding court approval. If this is done within the law, which regulates the rules of conduct of security services, that’s fine. If it’s done outside the law, then it’s bad,” the president said then.

The draft order of the Communications Ministry and ensuring FSB access to personal data of Internet users would seem to conflict with Putin’s statement, the newspaper writes. But actually, the Russian authorities and security services, in particular, have virtually no formal restrictions to the expansion of the legal framework for their actions.

It appears that intelligence agencies around the world would like to work in the most comfortable conditions, get access to any information, and to simply ignore the cries of the indignant public, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper stresses. The publication notes that the Internet penetration process in Russia is rather slow, and privacy has not established on the list of priority values ·of Russians.

The guarantees of personal privacy and privacy of correspondence are becoming more and more illusory, the Vedomosti newspaper writes in an editorial on the same topic. The publication notes that in terms of attempts at establishing control over data flows Russia is not unique. The newspaper writes that Russia is unique by its corruption level.

The Vedomosti newspaper is concerned over the fact that the monitoring of huge information flows requires the hardware on the purchases of which officials may make a profit. The newspaper notes that official information is generally treated here as an exclusive product that is in demand on the market. So, one can expect the appearance of CDs with electronic correspondence and negotiation of famous people, the newspaper concludes.

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