Blocking instant messengers and anonymizers approved by the State Duma, in the fall will be the turn of social networks


On July 19, State Duma deputies at once in two readings adopted amendments to the law “On Information ...”, write Vedomosti. We are talking about amendments that regulate the work of instant messengers and anonymizers in Russia. The initial version of the amendments was developed in 2015 with the participation of the Media and Communication Union. Over time, this option was changed, for example, the points that regulate the operation of online cinemas were removed. The final version of the amendments establishes the requirement for messengers, violation of these requirements threatens the respective services with a fine and blocking.

One of the requirements is the identification of users by phone number. A number of programs use this method of registration and confirmation of identity. But in most instant messengers, the indication of a phone number is not at all mandatory. The deputies who worked on the amendments explained the introduction of such demands by the need to combat the spread of drugs, extremist content and information that threatens the lives of children.

The main bill proposed "to identify users using the subscriber number on the basis of an identification contract concluded by the organizer of instant messaging with a telecom operator". Accordingly, the messengers received "obligations to ensure the technical possibility of users refusing to receive electronic messages from other users, to ensure the possibility of sending electronic messages on the initiative of state authorities, as well as restricting the distribution and transmission of messages containing information that is distributed in violation of the requirements of the RF legislation."

This is the first part of the amendments. The second regulates the work of anonymizers and VPN in Russia. As you know, with the help of these servers, users bypass the blocking of sites that are closed within the Russian Federation. Until recently, the head of Roskomnadzor argued that the use of such services is a voluntary affair of each user, penalties for working with anonymizers or VPN are not provided. But a little later, the department still preoccupied with the issue of more reliable blocking of access to sites that were blacklisted.

As a result, it was decided to regulate the work of anonymizers so that they add sites with prohibited information to their own blacklists. In the event that such services do not do this, they, in turn, will be blocked.

In addition to the points already mentioned, the deputies should have considered the third block of amendments to the law “On Information ...”, which regulates the work of social networks in Russia. This document provided for the need to oblige social network owners to remove information that “is clearly aimed at propagating war, inciting national, racial or religious hatred and enmity”, plus “unreliable and / or defaming the honor and dignity of another person or his reputation information” and “ information for the distribution of which provides criminal or administrative liability "within 24 hours. If the resource refused to delete such data, he would have to pay a fine in the amount of from 3 million to 50 million rubles.

The government, after considering the amendments, criticized the document, so the deputies had to withdraw the draft law for revision. In fact, now the legislators will not be able to amend the State Duma’s consideration until the autumn of this year. “The authors have repeatedly stated that their initiative is in many ways a copy of the German law. Copying the provisions of foreign legislation is unlikely to be effective under the Russian legal system, ”said Leonid Levin, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications.

According to the plan, the new norms will come into force on January 1, 2018. There are only a few months left to this point, which officials suggest to the owners of the instant messengers to devote to preparing their services for the new working conditions.

True, despite the fact that the amendments are, in fact, adopted, far from all representatives of the IT sphere agree with them. For example, the director of strategic projects of the Internet Research Institute Irina Levova argues that from a technical point of view, the bills passed by the State Duma are impracticable. Other experts agree with this opinion.

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