21:57 GMT28 February 2021
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    The lawyer of Edward Snowden spoke Saturday against banning anonymity on the Internet.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) –  Anatoly Kucherena, the lawyer of former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden spoke Saturday against banning anonymity on the Internet.

    “As Snowden’s lawyer… I am against any attempts to introduce revolutionary changes in the Internet,” Kucherena told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster, adding that he supported prosecution of crime perpetrators, including cybercrimes, in case evidence had been provided.

    Commenting on the initiative to block anonymity on the Internet, Kucherena noted that the Russian society was not ready for the total ban of the Internet anonymity.

    On June 9, the Russian State Duma's committee on information policy considered the bill on regulating messengers and recommended it to adoption during the first reading. The document obliged the messengers’ owners to provide service only to those people, whose identity was confirmed according to the law.  For this purpose the authors of the bill propose to grant subscribers identification numbers based on the deals that messengers would sign with mobile communications operators.

    In April, Russian officials have drafted a legislation proposing to ban internet anonymizers which allow users to access blocked websites via proxy servers. The draft noted that the Russian federal blacklist for illegal websites has proven to be insufficiently effective in restricting user access, with search engines still allowed to list the websites still accessible via proxy servers. The law proposed to fine with 700,000 rubles (approximately $12,112) search engines that fail to delete banned websites from their registers.

    In 2013, Snowden leaked classified documents pertaining to mass surveillance practices carried out by US authorities around the globe. Later in the year, Russia granted the former NSA contractor temporary asylum for one year. In 2014, Snowden received a three-year residence permit to live in Russia, which was later extended until 2020.


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