Petition to Repeal “Yarovaya Amendments” Musters Necessary Number of Votes
August 14, 2016
A petition calling for the repeal of the so-called Yarovaya anti-terrorism amendments has garnered over 100,000 signatures on the Russian Public Initiative website. It has now been sent to a federal expert working group for consideration.
As of ten minutes past midnight on Sunday, 100,098 people had voted in support of the initiative, while [1,439] people had voted against it. Voting has now been completed, and the initiative has been forwarded for further consideration.
According to the website, the deadline for deciding on the initiative is no more than two months from the date it was submitted for consideration.
According to the petition’s authors, the law “contradicts the Russian Federal Constitution and is absolutely useless from a technical point of view.”
“We ask Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev to repeal the law, since it requires enormous amounts of money, which could lead many Internet companies to bankruptcy and reduce the revenue the state receives from their taxes,” states the petition.
Tabled by MP Irina Yarovaya and Federation Council member Viktor Ozerov, the amendments to anti-terrorism laws were approved by the State Duma on June 24, and signed into law by the Russian president [sic] on July 7. The original law bill contained provisions for stripping people convicted of terrorism and extremism of their Russian citizenship, as well as those who had gone to work in foreign law enforcement agencies and courts or enlisted in [foreign] armies.
Many of the headline-making provisions concerning the IT sector were left in the legislation that was adopted, including those requiring telecom operators and Internet companies to save the text messages and conversations of users. Internet companies complained that the law [sic] would force a rise in prices for telecommunication services and requested that it be redrafted or postponed.
Rallies against the so-called Yarovaya package were held in Moscow and other Russian cities this past week.
Translated by the Russian Reader
Proposed Russian Law Could “End Online Anonymity”
August 12, 2016
New Russian legislation could force messaging service providers to identify their users and delete messages containing illegal content, Vedomosti newspaper reported Friday.
Such a law would effectively end the rights of users to online anonymity.
The legislation has been draftedd by Russia’s Media Communications Union (MKS), which represents Russia’s biggest service providers, three of which confirmed to Vedomosti that the project is currently under discussion.
Messaging services will have to “rapidly block messages or publications which contain information banned by Russian law,” Vedomosti reported. If they do not comply, Russia’s media watchdog maintains the right to limit access to the service.
The law bill may be presented in the fall to a parliamentary group headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, a MKS source told Vedomosti.
A spokesperson for Rostelecom, a mobile operator working on the legislation, told Vedomosti that the precise details are still being discussed and that mobile operators previously had no such legal obligation to monitor the content of users’ messages.
Users will no longer be able to write anonymously online, which is an infringement of their constitutional rights, according to a spokesman at Russian Internet giant Yandex. He also said the law could force Internet companies to leave the Russian market and could lead to a drop-off in competition and an overall weakening of the sector.
Some believe the new legislation is unnecessary as all provisions for regulating messenger services are contained in anti-terrorism legislation approved this summer by President Vladimir Putin.
The anti-terrorism laws, authored by ultra-conservative Duma Deputy Irina Yarovaya, require messaging companies to monitor the content of phone calls and messages and store them for six months. All messaging apps that use encryption will also be required to add additional code and allow access to Russia’s security services.
NB. The preceding article was lightly edited to make it sound less like a hasty translation or summary of the article that originally appeared in Vedomosti.