Kremlin wants to shoot the Messenger, and WhatsApp to boot

Russian lawmakers want encryption backdoors

Russian media outlets report that laws mandating encryption backdoors have been tabled in the Duma.

If accurate, you could expect an exodus of US services from the country.

This Russian-language report, once the Vulture South hack was able to untangle translations like “proposed a fine messenger”, sets down the basics: those providing messaging applications like WhatsApp and Telegram would face fines if they can't provide users' messages to the FSB.

It's proposed as an amendment to anti-terror laws proposed by deputy Irina Yarovaya and senator Viktor Ozerov, and has already been okayed by the Duma Committee for Security and Anti-Corruption.

Russian newsagency Tass (in Russian here) says the law would impose a fine of a million roubles (roughly US$15,000) if an app's owner declined to decrypt messages.

Citizens using the apps and refusing to let security officials read their messages would be subject to fines of up to 3,000 roubles, officials could be fined up to 5,000 roubles, and legal entities as much as 50,000 roubles.

If the law passed, it would set the likes of Facebook on yet another collision course with governments.

In Brazil, a spat that started last year landed a Facebook exec briefly behind bars because he couldn't hand over user conversations.

A Kremlin-mandated crypto backdoor would, The Register supposes, at least give FBI director James Comey proof that governments can pass laws banning uncrackable encryption. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022