A Rough Month for Internet Freedom in Russia

And Russia is not the only nation going this route.
It’s been a rough month for Internet freedom in Russia. After it breezed through the Duma, President Putin signed the ‘Yarovaya package’ into law – a set of radical ‘anti-terrorism’ provisions drafted by ultra-conservative United Russia politician Irina Yarovaya, together with a set of instructions on how to implement the new rules. Russia’s new surveillance laws include some of Bad Internet Legislation’s greatest hits, such as mandatory data retention and government backdoors for encrypted communications – policies that EFF has opposed in every country where they’ve been proposed.
As if that wasn’t scary enough, under the revisions to the criminal code, Russians can now be prosecuted for ‘failing to report a crime.’ Citizens now risk a year in jail for simply not telling the police about suspicions they might have about future terrorist acts.
But some of the greatest confusion has come from Internet service providers and other telecommunication companies. These organizations now face impossible demands from the Russian state. Now they can be ordered toretain every byte of data that they transmit, including video, telephone calls, text messages, web traffic, and email for six months – a daunting and expensive task that requires the kind of storage capacity that’s usually associated with NSA data centers in Utah. Government access to this data no longer requires a warrant. Carriers must keep all metadata for three years; ISPs one year. Finally, any online service (including social networks, email, or messaging services) that uses encrypted data is now required to permit the Federal Security Service (FSB) to access and read their services’ encrypted communications, including providing any encryption keys.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Electronic Frontier Foundation ‘ July 19, 2016.

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