MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. The decree of the Russian government introducing messenger user identification by phone number takes effect starting Sunday, May 5. A respective document was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on November 6, 2018.
According to the document, messaging services will now have to verify registration data through mobile operators who are obliged to provide subscriber information within 20 minutes upon receiving a request from a messenger. In the event that a mobile operator fails to provide user information within the specified timeframe or cites a lack of such information, the identification will be considered invalid.
Mobile operators will be obliged to include information about the apps their subscribers use into their databases, as well as users’ unique identification codes. In addition, mobile operators will also have to inform messengers’ administration within 24 hours in case a contract with a user is terminated. After that, the user will have to be re-identified in the messaging service.
Deputy Prime Minister Maksim Akimov said earlier that the new messenger user identification rules are not expected to bring problems and financial issues for the IT sector. Head of Russia’s media watchdog Alexander Zharov emphasized that the new rules would facilitate the investigative activities of law enforcement agencies. According to Zharov, arranging cooperation between mobile operators and messaging services will not require great financial resources.
All mobile operators (Beeline, MTS, Megafon and Tele2) interviewed by TASS prior to the government’s decree entering into force said they are ready to carry out the new requirements.
Megafon’s press service said that the decree "channels into a legal direction the existing relations envisioning that messenger users are identified by phone number," which means that nothing would change for users of those services.
On the other hand, press service of Vimpelcom (Beeline brand) complained that the work on user identification requires the participation of both telecom service providers and messengers themselves, which show little interest in cooperation though.