Russian govt orders internet providers to handover “encryption keys”

By : |July 8, 2016 0

In a bizarre move, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Federal Security Service to produce “encryption keys” to decrypt all data on the internet. This is part of the Russian government’s move to implement internet surveillance through a law passed under the “anti-terrorist” bill today.

The new surveillance bill, which will come into effect on July 20th, has laid down initiatives that experts say are “terrifyingly invasive”. The implementation of the law is costly, and may put many internet and phone service providers out of business, force noncomplying foreign companies out of Russia and kick a massive dent into Kremlin’s already crumbling infrastructure budget.

CIOL Russian govt orders internet providers to handover “encryption keys”

The law mandates telecom providers and “organizers of information distribution” (basically, any website) to store copies of the content of all information they transmit, including phone calls and text messages, for six months and store the metadata for three years for the Kremlin to investigate whenever necessary.

                                 

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The impact of this can be huge, as the internet providers would need to build new and massive data centers and buy imported equipment, to be able to store such data. To make things worse, there is no state subsidy available for these companies to cut the cost blow. In fact, even the Russian government would need to upgrade its electrical grid and old data cables to actually operate the data centers. The estimated cost of all these procedures stands between $30 and $77 billion.

The government’s order to turn over “any information necessary to decrypt those messages,” will add overheads to the high cost of increasing storage. The internet providers and operators will have to have additional coding in all electronic messages, which will function as instructions for the FSB to “decode” them.

For many services and websites, such as banks and financial institutions, “keys” don’t exist or are fundamentally un-shareable.

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