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Russia Bans Anonymous Public Wi-Fi

Published: August 11, 2014 (Issue # 1823)



  • Russians may not be able to enjoy the pleasure of convenient Wi-Fi Internet access in city parks much longer.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

Users of public Wi-Fi spots in Russia will soon be required to disclose their identities, a top official said in the latest of many attempts to explain a cryptic new batch of regulations.

A variety of different sources can be used to identify would-be web surfers, from their bank card details to login information from the federal government's service portal, to codes texted to users' mobile phones, Mass Media and Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said Friday.

"User identification ... is a worldwide practice," Nikiforov said on his Twitter feed.

Russian netizens have about a month of Wi-Fi anonymity left: ID procedures will be set up by early September, Federal Mass Media Inspection Service deputy head Maxim Ksenzov said Saturday.

The governmental decree on the matter, meanwhile, will enter into effect next Tuesday.

Passport or No Passport?

The vaguely worded document was initially understood by media and experts to require a passport to access Wi-Fi in a cafe or shopping mall.

But Nikiforov's ministry said Friday that passports will only be necessary at state-funded access points, mostly found at post offices in small towns nationwide. Still, some form of identification will be mandatory for public Wi-Fi elsewhere, the ministry said in a statement.

But apparently to the contrary, Ksenzov told ITAR-Tass on Friday that identification will only be required at post offices and Internet cafes, but not restaurants, shopping malls, airports and other public places.

The discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled.

Storing Personal Data

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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