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NI: Russian secret services to intensify surveillance over Internet use (M.Khairullin) -JRL

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  • Norbert Strade
    Novye Izvestia February 1, 2002 INTERNET TO BE MONITORED Russian secret services to intensify surveillance over Internet use Author: Marat Khairullin [from WPS
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2002
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      Novye Izvestia
      February 1, 2002

      INTERNET TO BE MONITORED

      Russian secret services to intensify surveillance over Internet use
      Author: Marat Khairullin

      [from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]

      THE INTERIOR MINISTRY IS WORKING ON A NUMBER OF LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
      WHICH WILL SEVERELY RESTRICT ACCESS TO THE INTERNET FOR ORDINARY
      CITIZENS. THIS TIME THE SECURITY STRUCTURES MEAN BUSINESS. BEFORE BUYING
      A MODEM OR GETTING A DIRECT TELEPHONE LINE AT HOME, A WOULD-BE USER
      WOULD HAVE TO GET A PERMIT AT THE LOCAL POLICE STATION.

      According to our sources, the Interior Ministry is working on a
      number of legislative initiatives which will severely restrict access to
      the Internet for ordinary citizens.
      Russian security services have always wanted to declare war on the
      Internet. At first, the Federal Security Service tried to restrict the
      rights of users and providers. The attempt, however, failed - just like
      the previous attempts to restrict access to mobile communications
      (mostly because it is more difficult to tap cell phones).
      This time the security structures mean business. Interior Ministry
      specialists have until spring to draw up some amendments to the law "On
      security". We have obtained some details of what these lawmakers in
      uniform have planned. The amendments specify mandatory registration of
      Internet users with the Interior Ministry. Before buying a modem or
      getting a direct telephone line at home, a would-be user would have to
      get a permit at the local police station. Police officers will issue
      permits on the basis of appropriate conclusions of local commissions,
      precinct police officers, and neighbors (?). The would-be user will be
      required to pay a fee as well. Once again, taxpayers will be forced to
      finance the services of the police and stupid red tape.
      Article 272 of the Criminal Code "Unauthorized Access to Computer
      Information" will be expanded. Something special is prepared for
      providers. They will be required to report the number of their users to
      the internal affairs departments. It will be difficult to do so without
      special equipment. That's just too bad. Providers will have to buy it.
      Insiders say that the initiative is ascribed to the need to prevent
      criminal use of the net, the spread of pornography, etc. It is highly
      unlikely, however, because of the identity of the ideologue behind the
      proposed amendments. This is the Interdepartmental commission for
      information security - recently set up within the Security Council at
      the initiative of Federal Security Service chief Nikolai Patrushev. Here
      is an excerpt from a program document of this body.
      "A negative image of Russia has been actively created in the West
      over these past few years. Rumors about 'Russian mafia' circulate in the
      United States, discrediting our leading banks and companies. Hollywood
      turns out movies where Russians are depicted as violent and
      terrorists..."
      A conclusion:
      "Urgent measures are needed for research in the sphere of effective
      new technologies for maintenance of information security."
      Translated from the officialese, this is what it means. Russia is
      still in a state of Cold War with the West. In order to prevent the West
      from sowing dissent via the Internet, the Internet should be made
      unaccessible. The Security Council will consider the amendments in
      February and submit them to the Cabinet after that. Then the tame Duma
      will receive them.
      Some human rights groups have a simple explanation. When fighting
      independent media, the authorities could not have forgotten about the
      Internet, another source through which Russians may get independent
      information.
      What next? Photocopiers?
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