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FSB Will Welcome Russias Internet Server Law

Published: July 16, 2014 (Issue # 1820)


A little more than two years ago, in March 2012, Sergei Smirnov, first deputy director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, presented a policy paper about the threat to state power posed by social networks.

The venue he chose, a meeting of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, was no coincidence. The organizations members Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan have begun to use their meetings to discuss and plan countermeasures against the types of social networks that played such an important role in the Arab Spring.

In essence, Smirnov said that Western intelligence agencies use the blogosphere to overthrow political regimes and the FSB was going to cleanse the Internet of their influence. At the same time, Smirnov admitted the FSB had not yet developed countermeasures. In other words, the FSB was still at a loss as to how to cope with social networks.

The reason for their difficulties was immediately apparent: The FSB only understood how to combat the influence of social networks located on Russian territory. Under Russian law, all communications operators and hosting providers are required to install surveillance and interception equipment, otherwise known as a back door.

This requirement is part of Russian intelligence agencies famous SORM, or System for Operative Investigative Activities. As one FSB employee told me in 2012, Why should we put pressure on social networks when we can use SORM to gather information from servers without their knowledge?

And so at the time of Smirnovs report, Russian intelligence agencies had just one problem how to deal with networks with servers physically located beyond Russias borders.

Now, two years later, the FSB has found a solution. The new law that the State Duma passed on July 4 prohibits the storing of Russians personal data anywhere but in Russia.

There is some irony in the fact that Russian intelligence agencies justify the expansion of their powers with the argument that they are protecting the personal data of Russian citizens.

In fact, nobody asked Russias Duma deputies to protect their personal data. In contrast to the people of Brazil, whose outrage over U.S. National Security Agency spying led to a similar draft law, Russians were not especially shocked by recent revelations about Washingtons global cyber espionage. On the contrary, Russian civic organizations strongly opposed the law.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Nov. 26


AmChams Public Relations Committee will meet this afternoon in their office in the New St. Isaacs Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha at 4 p.m.


Zoosphere, an international exhibition focusing on the pet industry, opens today at the Lenexpo convention center on Vasilievsky Island. Not only will items such as toys, terrariums and accessories be available for purchase, but animal enthusiasts can also learn about the latest in veterinary medicine and behavioral training thanks to the conferences and presentations that are part of the event.



Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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