Want Email in Russia? The Kremlin Wants Your Phone Number First - Bloomberg.com
Russians who want to send email will have to disclose their identities under draft legislation that includes a ban on sharing content deemed illegal in messages, as Bloomberg.com reported. Internet providers would be compelled to link accounts of email users to their mobile phone numbers in the proposals submitted to Russia’s upper house of parliament by senators Andrei Klishas and Lyudmila Bokova on Tuesday. “Email services providers should only allow messages to be transmitted from identified users,” the senators wrote in an explanatory note. The legislation is needed to counter terrorism and prevent the spread of “knowingly false” bomb threats, they said. The bill is “inappropriate and excessive,” said Vladimir Gabrielyan, vice president of Russia’s Mail.ru Group. “It involves significant inconveniences for users and discriminates against Russian market players,” since foreign providers will face no such requirements, he said.
Sponsored LawKlishas and Bokova sponsored Russia’s “sovereign internet” law that passed in May and provides for internet traffic to be routed through domestic servers and exchanges, a measure critics say makes it easier for the authorities to block content. Putin signed laws in March to punish online media and individuals for spreading “fake news” or material that insults Russian officials.
The latest proposal “will be difficult to implement,” because email is an open system, said Karen Kazaryan, an analyst at the Russian Association of Electronic Communications, an internet lobby group. “A user can send a message at random, using any server. If it was possible to regulate emails, there would’ve been no spamming and phishing globally.” Russia faced a wave of false bomb threats earlier this year, often sent by email, that targeted schools, hospitals, offices and shopping centers, according to the state-run Tass news service. Bloomberg.com
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