01:11 GMT +324 March 2017
    A chair is pictured on stage as former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is awarded the Bjornson prize Molde, Norway, in this September 5, 2015 file photo

    Edward Snowden Slams New Russian Anti-Terrorism Act (Again)

    © REUTERS/ Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/NTB Scanpix/Files
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    Edward Snowden has once again taken to Twitter to denounce Russia's new anti-terrorism law, more commonly known as the Yarovaya Law, named after its creator, State Duma Deputy Irina Yarovaya.

    The former NSA contractor, who leaked thousands of classified documents revealing, among other things, large-scale US government surveillance programs in 2013, expressed his concern with what he called "Russia's Big Brother law". 

    ​​The bill, signed into effect by President Putin on July 7th, includes a number of hotly-debated points, including an obligation for all communication companies and internet providers to store traffic information. Social networks and messenger services would be required to retain traffic information for at least a year, and keep records of phone calls and texts for six months. 

    Telecom companies would also be required to hand over encryption keys to state security agencies, and face fines if they refuse to comply. Russia's three major communication companies seem to agree with Snowden, calling the measure 'extreme'. 

    Irina Yarovaya, the head of the lower house of parliament's Security and Anti-Corruption Committee, however, stated that the bill doesn't oblige telecom companies to store information immediately — it simply gives the government the power to do so, and also decide what kind of data, if any, should be stored. She also dismissed claims from Russian cell service providers that adopting the bill would result in a threefol price hike for cell and internet services. 

    ​Snowden, however, remains unconvinced.  


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    anti-terrorism legislation, legislation, Edward Snowden, Irina Yarovaya, Moscow, Russia
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    • avatar
      Absolutely agree with Snowden on that. If we are strongly against NSA, GCHQ, BND and other western snooping agencies which so blatantly breach all legal norms related to privacy and data protection, than it is even less appropriate for Russia to follow this path.

      I agree that terrorists, criminals and other suspects have to be under the surveillance, but that has to be done only by the regular court approval (under no circumstances special courts as in USA which simply fulfil every request), beside that it is not a case of catching people red handed by snooping their communications as that should be declared as illegal data collection. There should be law preventing agencies from snooping longer than 30 days and after that date authorities should inform suspect (exception are terrorist suspects) that his/hers communications have been monitored. In the 1980' when I worked in UK I learned that if you suspect that your tel. line has been tapped all you needed to do was to send request to British Telecom to verify your telephone line. By the law they were obliged to do so and inform you within 30 days about their findings. I remember my colleague who was lecturing nuclear physics and was working some hash, hash research in university institute, had telephone tapped. He showed me a copy of request (it is a official form obtained in BT offices) and their result where has been stated that they discovered that his line has been tapped but it was legal because was covered by the court order, and that was it. You knew that it is official and that is sanctioned by the court. Who and why you could obtain only through court by suing unknown person snooping your line.

      Similar thing should be obtained nowadays in Russia as well as there is no way that they would be able to decode encrypted communications offered by some mobile manufacturer where encryption is always different and is based on previously installed key codes on mobiles, which allows caller's mobile phone to pair with receiver's mobile on ONE TIME ENCRYPTION provided by manufacturer. In Gulf states it is forbidden usage of such mobiles, now is Russia becoming as West or even worst as Gulf states? People should reject that illegal law as it is not consistent with real human rights. If Russia wants to be democratic state than they should not follow Western countries which they criticise.
    • avatar
      Somehow Mr. Snowden has apparently inherited the besserwisser attitude of the American way to understand the world. Engagement in Russian domestic issues is not for foreigners and somehow this should be wellknown, unless the American exceptionalism is a fact.
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