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Russian Lawmakers Approve Ban on Website Registration With Foreign Emails

Russian lawmakers on Wednesday passed legislation banning the use of foreign email accounts when registering on websites, drawing criticism from the country’s IT industry. 

If signed into law, online users in Russia will be required to create accounts on websites using a Russian telephone number, the government e-portal Gosuslugi, biometric data or email addresses ending in the .ru domain.

The bill’s co-author, State Duma deputy Anton Gorelkin, said people with existing accounts would not be required to re-register with the Russia-based “identifiers.”

A vote by the upper-house Federation Council — which convenes for its last session until this fall on Friday — and President Vladimir Putin’s signature are required for the bill to become law. 

Millions of Russian users risk losing access to Russian websites if the changes take effect, Forbes Russia reported, citing an unnamed source in the country’s IT industry.

Banks and other financial organizations also risk losing clients’ trust over added complications to online authorization processes, the publication wrote, citing a petition by Viktor Dostov, chairman of the Russian Electronic Money and Remittance Association.

But State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein, who chairs the assembly’s Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications, maintained that the new rules would protect users’ personal data by preventing cybercriminals from using foreign email domains to “breach” Russian websites.

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