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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

“Ordered to strike the sea”: which instant messengers disappear in Russia after the law of Spring


The President of Russia Vladimir Putin after the signing of the “Spring package” instructed the Federal security service over two weeks to find a way of passing the encryption keys on the Internet. We talked to experts to find out how real it is, and can disable us instant messengers, which, because of the technology used can not or do not want to “give away keys”.


photo: Alex geldings

On Thursday, the President signed the “anti-terrorism package” of laws made by state Duma Deputy Irina Yarovaya and Senator Viktor Ozerov. It prescribes all the “organizers of information distribution” that use the “more encodings” message is first and foremost messengers to provide the FSB with information to “decode” all that is required. Details — in our article “Putin signed the “Spring package”, adding his emergency orders”.

Transfer of encryption keys of the FSB – the problem is in some aspects not technically feasible, especially in such a short period of time. Because part of the “organizers of information distribution” do not have access to such keys.

A vivid example is WhatsApp, which uses technology from end2end: keys are generated and, respectively, are on devices of the users. To get the key, it is necessary in each case to have access to each specific device.

TelegramПавла Durova uses a different encryption system, but even here, as we know from the example of hacking telegram. account officer of the Fund of struggle against corruption of George Alborov, the penetration into the device and stealing from him the confirmation code for use of the messenger (in may be involved mobile phone company) allow you to access the messages.

In any case, to the requirements of the bill “hacking” devices has no direct relationship technically “pass the keys, repeat the parts manual instant messengers FSB will not.

And if you can, but do not want (the latter is just a case of Telegram, what he was talking about Pavel Durov)? Under the new law and “not able” and “not wanting” is threatened with the penalty to one million rubles. Chief editor of the site Agentura.ru Andrei Soldatov explained “MK” that the penalties can threaten only to companies, which in Russia are servers, and offices.

“A legal entity in Russia, Google does it can be fined,” says Soldatov. – Skype? He now belongs to Microsoft. Just remember the whole history of Microsoft in Russia. First, they have a legal entity in the country. Second, they have a long history of cooperation with Russian law enforcement bodies, which began in the 90-ies, when they both chased the counterfeit Windows. So, I think they somehow under this act to cooperate with the special services will be.(Some pros say that this has been happening for several years – “MK”).

The big problem with Facebook and Twitter, they have Moscow offices. Moreover, it is impossible to “catch and fine” Telegram”.

And if in this case, to prohibit in Russia “naughty” messengers? In the “Spring package” this measure is not provided. However, you can always make new laws.


photo: Andrew Arakcheev

“Of course, you can try to go the Chinese way,” says Andrei Soldatov. – . For example, when you install Skype in China, you machine redirected to a Chinese counterpart, which is completely transparent to the local security services”. In 2010, the government of China has decided to ban the installation of Skype in 2011, it was acquired by Microsoft, after that, experts say, the Chinese version has embedded lasiecka” for the local security services.

However, using some technologies (e.g., VPN or Tor) users will be able to use messengers. “Antidote” from such funds for security services yet.

In this case, another possible way of blocking, according to Soldatov – lock all mobile devices that are running, such as VPN. Such an experiment was already conducted in China. “But even they are not implemented throughout the country, ” he explains. – For us it is even more difficult to implement”.

According to legend, 2.5 thousand years ago the Persian ruler Xerxes ordered the executioners to strike the sea because in a storm had dispersed the most difficult crossing on the way of his troops. The element does not respond to punishment, and certainly not returned to the ruined crossing. It seems that attempts to control the Internet is like trying to carve the sea.

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