NI: Russian secret services to intensify surveillance over Internet use (M.Khairullin) -JRL
- 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
"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
What next? Photocopiers?