Russia is going to pass the new anti-terrorism bill, many are skeptical

Pierluigi Paganini June 30, 2016

In these days, a new anti-terrorism bill is becoming law in Russia, it includes a large number of issues related to internet monitoring.

The terrorism is one of the dreaded threats on a global scale, almost every government is spending a significant effort in order to prevent plots against their population. Modern Terrorism is technological, it makes a large use of the Internet and cyber terrorists represent a concrete threat for every country.

Many governments are discussing “anti-terrorism” legislations to contrast the threat, of course, privacy advocates are worried about the evolution of such kind of legal framework that could open the door to a massive surveillance and censorship. bill is now on its way to becoming law in Russia.

In these days a new anti-terrorism bill is becoming law in Russia, it includes a large number of issues related to internet monitoring that will have a severe impact also on IT companies and ISPs that operate in the country. Telecom and internet companies have to record and store all customer communications for six months, potentially at a multitrillion-dollar cost.

The internet firms will have to store all communications metadata for a year while telecom companies will have to store them for three years.

The bill that is sustained by the United Russia party passed last Friday in the Duma, a landslide victory if we consider that it obtained 277 votes for, 148 against, and only one abstaining. It now moves to Russia’s Federal Council and the Kremlin, where it’s expected to pass into law.

The next step is the final approval of the anti-terrorism bill by the Russia’s Federal Council and the Kremlin, but we have no doubts that it will be soon a Russian law..

Telecom operators and internet companies, for example, will have to record and store all customer communications for six months. This means that the companies will have to face multitrillion-dollar additional costs to be compliant with the new anti-terrorism law.

The new law is being called an anti-terrorism bill, but it could be considered as the formal legalization of already ongoing surveillance activities.

Yes, in Russia, like elsewhere, the Government already has the technology to conduct a massive network surveillance. In August 2014, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree that will extend the use of SORM-2 to social network surveillance.

It’s known that the Russian Government is applying a strict surveillance on the Internet within the country, the Kremlin has developed a system code-named “SORM-2” to monitor Russian citizens.

The Russian Government has obliged national ISPs to purchase and install the probes used by SORM-2 system that allows the Federal Security Service (FSB) to monitor Internet traffic including online communications.

SORM-2 is a mass surveillance system that allows the Government of Moscow to track online activities of single individuals thanks to the support of Russian ISP.

Anti-terrorism bill russian SORM-2

The new anti-terrorism bill obliges all internet firms into providing mandatory backdoor access into encrypted communications for the Russian intelligence Agency (FSB).

According to the news shared with the media, the law will have no impact on instant messaging services implementing end-to-end encryption, this means that popular applications like Telegram, WhatsApp, Viber, and Signal will be out of the scope of the law. The bad news is that the law will extend to all the ISP operating in the country that will have to provide the Russian Intelligence the access to the entire traffic.

The companies that will not be compliant with the anti-terrorism bill will face fines that can reach 1 million rubles ($15,000), but I think that financial sanctions are the tip of the iceberg.

The government stiffens penalties for those who make online propaganda or who encourage discussion concerning terrorism. They risk imprisonment up to seven years.

The anti-terrorism law also cover the omission of informing authorities about activities related to terrorism, it will be considered a crime too and authorities will punish the culprits with up to one year in prison.


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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Anti-terrorism bill, Russia)

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