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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, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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