The Russian minister of communication has proposed to provide enforcement authorities with access to all personal data in online mode for the purposes of investigation? Personal data could include digital profile, id, and financial history, data received from mobile operators, financial institutions and different internet services.
Currently each enforcement authority in Russia has its own internal data base useful for execution of functions. If any information is missing or is not contained in data base the authority can make inquiry to those authorities who have necessary information.
But enforcement authorities want much more. They want to receive information also from digital services like electronic mail, social networks, messengers etc. Therefore the minister has proposed to provide enforcement authorities with access to all databases which can be available in Russia.
In order to receive information or access thereto the enforcement authority in most cases should receive the court order and mostly the courts grant such orders. But the Kremlin allegedly was not aware of minister’s proposal. Stakeholders also have different opinions on such idea.
Some believe it is good idea and it is possible, some believe in order to implement such idea it is necessary to change the Russian constitution. But many experts are curious how such proposal could be implemented in practice? Who would have access to such single data base with all data?
Who would supervise handling with information received from such single database? But minister insists that he did not propose to provide access without any formalities. He believes the proposal is about to eliminate paper workflow and nothing more and substitute it by electronic workflow.
Later the minister has explained what the proposal means from his point of view. There will be no additional empowerment of enforcement authorities. Currently all workflow is in paper what creates significant workload for all participants. Currently there is interdepartmental electronic interaction (IEI), in other words it is some kind of corporate mail.
More than 17 thousand state organizations and authorities are connected to IEI. So, the minister has proposed to shift from paper workflow and use IEI in order to receive information and data from connected organizations and authorities without additional empowerment of enforcement authorities.
It seems the problem is in wording. The minister’s presentation (allegedly containing such controversial proposal) states that “digital economic would enable the state to receive the online access to data of state, banks, mobile operators and internet services within the framework of investigation activity”.
In “2024 100% of authorized officers would be able to receive necessary information and data in online mode”. The minister also underlined that the presentation is only recommendation within the framework on national project “Digital Economic”. These recommendations to be work over with stake holders.
Actually in summer last year the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has requested the Russian internet services to provide online access to users’ conversations. Different platforms (e-commerce, social networks, video hosting etc.) have been required to provide the Russian enforcement authority with key encryptions in order to read all conversations between certain users.
Those services that refused to do it have been blocked in Russia. It seems the other internet services available in Russia have agreed to provide enforcement authorities with necessary data concerning their users.
Such requirement is obligatory for execution and provided by the Yarovaya law. The companies, who receive such requirement, must also install relevant equipment necessary to provide the enforcement authority with access to company’s infrastructure.
Those companies who did not install such equipment have been invited to the FSB’s office for conversation in order to explain the company why they should install equipment. Therefore some Russian companies, who have popular internet platforms in Russia, have promptly changed their place of company incorporation.