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Yandex, FSB find acceptable encryption key solution — media watchdog

This is an example of effective cooperation between the company and the state, the watchdog's head said

ST. PETERSBURG, June 6. /TASS/. Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor has received no notice that the domestic Internet search engine Yandex has failed to comply with the requirements of the Federal Security Service (FSB) for providing encryption keys, Roskomnadzor Head Alexander Zharov told TASS at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2019) on Thursday.

"Considering that the FSB has submitted no demands to Roskomnadzor, this is an example of effective cooperation between the company and the state represented by the FSB because, on the one hand, the company has stated that it will not provide the encryption keys but, obviously, in the process of a dialogue, they have found an acceptable solution for providing necessary information to the FSB for exposing criminals or for providing other information significant for the state," Zharov said.

Russian media outlet RBC reported on June 4 that several months ago, the FSB had requested Yandex to provide the encryption keys in order to monitor users’ data in Yandex.Pochta (an email service) and Yandex.Disk (a cloud storage service). According to RBC, Yandex has failed to provide these keys within ten days of the request. Earlier, a Russian court blocked the Telegram messenger for its refusal to share encryption keys, RBC reminded.

Yandex.Pochta and Yandex.Disk are both listed on the register of information disseminators, that is, internet platforms where users can exchange messages. According to the Yarovaya package of laws, since July 20, 2016, the FSB has the right to request the "information necessary to decode incoming, outgoing, delivered and/or processed electronic messages by Internet users" from entities on the list of information disseminators.

The Yandex press office informed TASS that the company remains in full compliance with the Russian law.