Russia Drafts Internet Spy Plan That Would Keep Records on All Communications

11:06 PM PST 10/24/2013 by Nick Holdsworth

Internet service providers say plans are unconstitutional and unworkable.

MOSCOW -- Russia's KGB successor body the FSB is drafting a law that will force Internet providers to spy on users.

If approved, the Federal Bureau of Security (FSB) scheme, being drawn up with the communications ministry, could be introduced as early as July next year.

The plans have provoked an angry reaction from providers.

Major Russian internet platform mail.ru claims it would be technically unfeasible and too costly. It would drive up costs of providing the Internet for users here to unrealistic levels.

Companies would be required to provide security services with the users' IP addresses, account names on email services, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Yandex and Mail.ru, mobile telephone numbers for all incoming and outgoing calls, and the locations of users of Google Voice, Skype and other voice over internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

Vladimir Gabrielyan, vice president and technical director of ISP group mail.ru, said the cost of installing equipment for the system would be no $300-$400 million, requiring 30-40 petabytes of data to store the entire data running over the Russian internet every 12 hours.

The market was unlikely to have equipment available to address such a need, he told Russian media Thursday, adding that existing storage system could only handle around 0.4 to 0.5 terabits.

VimpelCom, another of Russia's top ISPs, said if introduced the new rules would violate Russian constitutional protections on the right to "privacy, confidentiality of correspondence, telephone conversations, postal, telegraph and other communications.

Russian law currently stipulates that Internet and telecommunications operators must provide information about their clients' phone numbers and location to security services, but are not obliged to keep records of this information.

The companies also argues that the plan would violate laws on police procedure by forcing network operators to help pay for federal investigations by paying for the monitoring equipment.

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