×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Proposed Russian Laws Could 'End Online Anonymity'

New Russian legislation could force messaging service providers to identify their users and delete messages containing illegal content, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Friday.

Such a law would effectively end the rights of users to online anonymity.

The legislation has been developed by Russia’s Media Communication Union (MCU), which represents Russia’s biggest service providers, three of which confirmed to Vedomosti that the project is currently under discussion.

Messaging services will have to “rapidly block messages or publications which contain information banned by Russian law," Vedomosti reported. If they do not comply, Russia’s media watchdog maintains the right to limit access to the service.

The legislation may be presented in the fall to a parliamentary group headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, a MCU source told Vedomosti.

A representative of Rostelecom, a mobile operator working on the legislation, told Vedomosti that the precise details are still being discussed and that mobile operators previously had no such legal obligation to monitor the content of users’ messages.

Users will no longer be able to write anonymously online, which is an infringement of their constitutional rights, according to a representative of Russian Internet giant Yandex. He also said that the law could force Internet companies to leave the Russian market and could lead to a fall in competition and an overall weakening of the sector.

Some believe the new legislation is unnecessary as all provisions for regulating messenger services are contained in anti-terror legislation approved this summer by President Vladimir Putin.

The anti-terror laws, authored by ultra-conservative Duma Deputy Irina Yarovaya, require messaging companies to monitor the content of phone calls and messages and to store them for six months. All messaging apps which use encryption will also be required to add additional code and allow access to Russia’s security services.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more