New draft law, currently considered, provides regulation for messengers like Viber or WhatsApp. In initial draft it was provided that messengers have to identify its users. Identification can be made with help of subscriber’s phone number and under agreement concluded between messenger and mobile operator. Such provision was very advantageous for mobile operators – without them messengers would not have opportunity to work in Russia.
But after the second reading, the draft law has been changed. There are two ways. One way is when messenger is not incorporated in Russia, and when messenger is incorporated in Russia. For those messengers, who preferred “to run business officially” in Russia, there is opportunity to identify its users without mobile operator. The Russian government can provide special requirements how to identify of messenger’s user.
For those, who is not incorporated in Russia, the requirement to identify users with help of mobile operator still remains. But it seems nobody knows for sure, how it will be implemented in practice. The outcome can be standard – blocking of messenger in Russia. The draft law also provides that access to messenger can be restricted only under court order.