Companies will be required to keep the correspondence of users against criticism from the industry.
On July 1, the most discussed part of the “package” of deputy Irina Yarovoy came into force in Russia – communication operators and services should store data and provide intelligence services upon request. A number of bills were adopted on the pretext of combating terrorism.
Against radical tightening, meetings were held in many cities, petitions for tens of thousands of signatures were collected, and representatives of the industry repeatedly spoke. The beginning of the work of the law was suggested at least to be postponed, but in July 2017 the government recognized the document as “intolerable”.
Who should fulfill the “law of Yarovoy”
“Yarovoi Law” affects all organizers of information storage (ARI). Service under the law should inform Roskomnadzor that it is such, but there is also a compulsory order of inclusion in the register : the agency is under threat of blocking and on the basis of the request of the siloviki requests information to be sent within five days.
Under the ARI are meant social networks (for example, “VKontakte” and “Classmates”) and messengers. The definition also includes any services used for correspondence (for example, “Yandex mail” and “Yandex.Disk”, “Mail.Ru Agent” and “[email protected]”).
However, Roskomnadzor includes companies in the list of IDI selectively. There is no Viber and WhatsApp, although there is Telegram ( because of the claims of the siloviki ). The list also included Snapchat, Habrahabr, Liveinternet and Badoo, but there is no Twitter, Instagram and Google services.
Which items of the “law of Yarovaya” are already working
The first part of the “package” Yarovoy “earned on July 20, 2016. During this time, many new verdicts were issued on the new “terrorist” articles of the Criminal Code.
- Terrorism. After the law came into force only in 2016, the number of sentences for “terrorist articles” has more than doubled compared to 2015, the BBC noted . While it is known that the siloviki qualified only one case as an “act of international terrorism” – about the murder of Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov in Turkey;
- Missionary activity. By law, it is possible to engage in such activities only with registration, in designated premises and with special markings on publications. There are a lot of extremely controversial cases. For example, the detention of ateacher after a lecture on yoga in St. Petersburg, the destruction of copies of the Bible “Salvation Army” in Vladivostok, a fine of Christian Baptists for organizing a children’s summer camp in Noyabrsk;
- Nedonositelstvo, for example, about the preparation of a terrorist act or insurrection. Although non-delivery to close relatives remains a right, some residents of Russia have already received sentences under such an article. Astrakhan resident Ulugbek Gafurov was fined 70 thousand rubles for not telling about his friend in the camp of militants. Residents of Grozny suspected that he had kept quiet about the friend’s intentions to join the terrorists in Syria.
What rules come into force on July 1 and October 1
On July 1, “minimal”, but still unprecedented, requirements come into effect. From this date, cellular and other types of communication operators have to store records of calls, electronic messages and SMS messages for six months . If the FSB sends a request, companies must transfer the data. This applies to users:
- which are registered or authorized through an IP-address in the territory of Russia;
- who indicated during registration in the service a Russian passport or other Russian identity document;
- whose geographic data indicate the presence in Russia;
- who indicated in the service the telephone number issued by the Russian operator;
- on the location of which the ARI knows from government agencies “engaged in operational search activities”.
From October 1, the providers will have to store the user’s Internet traffic in about 30 days and on request to provide data to the special services . In the date-centers will take a certain space, calculated from the amount of traffic of the user 30 days before the start of the storage. If traffic grows, the old data will be available no longer within 30 days, but for a shorter period. In the next 5 years, operators are required to increase storage capacity by 15% annually.
Initially, the requirements for storing Internet traffic were to come into force not on October 1, but on July 1. However, operators complained about the inevitable costs and the inability to comply with all new rules at once – the government postponed the date. Also, according to the “law of Yarovaya”, they wanted to oblige operators to store data for 3 years, but later the terms were reduced due to criticism in the industry.
For that they criticize the “law of Yarovoy”
Unprecedented costs that fall on operators. The Russian Union of Industrialists estimated the cost of implementing the law in 10 trillion rubles. The FSB and the Ministry of Communications are confident that providers will spend about 4.5 trillion rubles on equipment and infrastructure to implement the “law of Yarovoi.” Even official calculations are 2.7 times more than the expenses of the whole industry in 2016. According to entrepreneurs’ estimates , operators of the Big Three (MegaFon, MTS and Beeline) will spend up to 100 billion rubles only by the end of 2018. According to VimpelCom (owns Beeline), the law will hit small operators who will not be able to go to such high costs.
The future increase in prices for communications and the Internet is a direct consequence of the first point, as companies offset their costs. “Dom.ru” raised thetariff from June 1, price increases are also expected from other providers. “MegaFon” as early as 2017, announced a “single-valued” increase in tariffs due to the law. The government asked operators not to increase prices by more than 5%, but how it turns out in fact – is still unknown.
Controversial effectiveness. According to the daughter structure of Rostelecom, the providers will have to store up to 157 billion gigabytes. For comparison: in 2009, the aggregate amount of data on the international Internet amounted to almost 500 billion gigabytes. It is unclear why to store so much information, if a significant part of it is transmitted in encrypted form. It is also unknown whether such measures will prove useful in the fight against terrorism, in fact, according to journalists, criminals will simply leave Russian services.
Delay of by-laws and lack of equipment. The government’s explanations – for example, what equipment is needed – were due out in late 2017, but appeared only in April 2018. Because of delays, operators doubted whether they would be able to comply with the law on July 1. Companies also complained about the lack of certified equipment on the market: Rostelecom explained that because of this, it would be “difficult” to comply with the law.
“White” spots in cooperation with the FSB. Operators even before the law comes into force it is not clear how they will work with intelligence agencies and what to do with the data if they want to change the supplier for storing traffic. Probably the provider in each region will be monitored by the regional FSB department. Another problem is connected with the requirement of the “Yarovoi law”, according to which the company stops rendering services to the subscriber if its data in the contract differ from the actual ones. It is still unclear, on the basis of which the siloviki will detect inconsistencies – and this already threatens problems for bona fide users. Also, operators do not understand exactly what data will need to be provided to the FSB.
Violation of the rights to privacy of correspondence and privacy. Human rights defenders, including Amnesty International, Freedom House and the Human Rights Council under the Russian president, regularly criticized the “Yarovoi law”. According to the organizations, the Russian authorities violate the basic principles of the Constitution and the right to freedom of opinion with the help of “anti-extremist legislation”.
Who will work on the new law
The existing producers of SORM – operational search systems – need to be installed by all operators in order to fulfill the “Yarovoi law”. Experts at the government explained that it is impossible to implement standard equipment for data storage in existing Internet services, in connection with which it is necessary to develop a new one. In addition, due to the growth of storage volumes, providers will have to install additional equipment. Russia’s largest producer of “Norse-Trans” proposedcomplexes that only operators to cost not less than 760 billion rubles.
Among the equipment suppliers are Rostek, Rostelecom and Alisher Usmanov, who are close to Alisher Usmanov . There are no obligations to select a supplier of equipment, so operators are looking for different ways of storing information. For example, MegaFon tested the complex from National Technologies (51% owned by Rostekh) and Citadel, which owns the SORM manufacturer called MFI Soft. Citadel is owned by the creator of the cyber-sports team Virtus.pro, which received $ 100 million from Alisher Usmanov, a businessman and the main shareholder of MegaFon. The same equipment is planned by Rostelecom.