The Russian government seeks to increase its control over the Internet
The Russian security authorities are taking new measures to expand their surveillance of the Internet by requiring ISPs to store all traffic temporarily and make it available to the Federal Security Service (FSB).
According to an article published by newspaper Kommersant, Vympelkom, the owner of the mobile network Beeline, made a complaint to the Ministry of Communications about the new decree made public on the 21 October 2013, developed by the Ministry together with the FSB, which will require ISPs to monitor all Internet traffic, including IP addresses, telephone numbers, and usernames.
The decree, which is to come into force in July 2014, also requires that ISPs store the traffic for 12 hours after collection and grant the security services exclusive access to the data. Vympelkom argues that the decree infringes several articles of the Russian Constitution, including the rights to privacy and due process.
Julius Tai, Managing partner of law firm Bartolius, believes that the order is violating not only the Constitution but also the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Law on the protection of personal data. “The existing legal and technical possibilities of access to personal data of Internet users and law enforcement agencies are enough. The unlimited expansion of these opportunities will lead to a violation of the rights of ordinary citizens …” said Mr. Tai
FSB is already monitoring the Internet through SORM, the System for Operative Investigative Activities, which requires ISPs to place “black boxes” on their servers, routing all internet traffic through FSB offices in real time, and to keep track of IP addresses and user IDs.
According to blogger Eldar Murtazin, an analyst at the Mobile Research Group, as FSB does not have the resources or the technology to effectively monitor all Internet traffic in real time, it would actually outsource the initial data collection and storage to the ISPs and the 12-hour storing requirement would serve as a buffer.
Of course, this will also involve large costs on the ISPs which have to buy and maintain themselves the necessary data-gathering equipment as the decree says nothing about the authorities providing any financing for this.
- Russian Internet Surveillance: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss (1.11.2013)
- Russian spy agency seeks to expand Internet surveillance (21.10.2013)