FSB Demands Detailed Personal Information On Russians Using Social Networks – OpEd

In its effort to gain control over social networks, an effort that is likely to fall short given various workarounds available to Internet savvy users, Russia’s FSB is demanding that by next year, instant messenger services and social networks provide it with the kind of personal data that most people prefer to keep secret to avoid identity theft.

The draft order (http://regulation.gov.ru/projects#npa=18013) which has been issued by the communications ministry and is slated to take effect next July will require these services to provide the following information about each user (meduza.io/en/feature/2017/08/11/here-s-exactly-what-kind-of-user-data-russia-s-federal-security-service-wants-from-registered-instant-messengers-and-social-networks):

  • User name
  • Full real name
  • Date of birth
  • Exact Address
  • Passport number
  • List of relatives
  • Friends list
  • Contacts list
  • List of all foreign languages spoken
  • Date and time of account’s creation
  • Date and time of all communications
  • Full text of all communications
  • Full archives of all audio and video communications
  • All shared files
  • Records of all e-payments
  • Location for use of each service
  • IP address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Software used

Such requirements are intended to send a chill through Russian social networks. And they will certainly discourage some from making use of these networks lest they fall victim to the powers that be. But more than that they will underscore the increasingly Orwellian nature of the Russian state under Vladimir Putin.

The immediately interesting question is whether those in other countries will complain as much about this as they have about NSA’s far less invasive procedures.


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Paul Goble

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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