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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. ®

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