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Skype. A Security Threat for Russia?
April 12, 2011 16:42

A hacker attack hit Russia’s most popular resources. In response to the cyberattacks the authorities were considering blocking some internet services, including Skype and Gmail. But at last it was told Russia won’t ban these sites. So what was the need for this hysteria?

According to Voa News, "As Russia’s roughly 40 million internet users digested these attacks, the nation’s top communications security official proposed Friday to ban Skype, Hotmail, and Gmail as uncontrolled threats to Russian security".

The Internet expands really fast and for the security officials this is a problem, an uncontrolled cyberspace. Some experts say this happens because of the events in the Middle East, as it seems the social networks played a role.

Alexander Andreyechkin, head of the FSB's information and special communication center, said that "uncontrollable use of such services can create a major threat to Russia's security".

However, Igor Shchyogolev, head of the Russian Ministry of Communications, contradicted the FSB, saying that while the government wanted to regulate such foreign services, it had no intention of blocking them.

It looks like the most scary story for a modern man is a story about banning Skype. As Slon resource says, Skype is a symbol of liberty. This is a chance to talk free through the Internet and not to pay pots of money for toll calls. But what does it mean to ban Skype and Gmail in Russia?

It is possible to ban something in Russia just in two steps: first, a thing should be outlaw and secondly, the law compliance must be ensured. But could you believe that according to the first item, Skype is already banned? As well as Gmail, Windows, Linux, iPad etc? Yes, it’s true, says Alexey Smirnov, Slon’s journalist.

  The national basis of regulatory and legal framework has been established by Yeltsin in 1995 in the "Decree N334". According to the document, “in the interest of Russian Federation security and fight against organized crime, to prohibit any activity of legal entities and individuals, associated with the development, manufacturing, sale and exploitation of cryptographic devices and secure technical devices for storing, processing and transmitting information, providing services for information encryption, which have no license issued by the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information under the President of Russian Federation in accordance with the Law of Russian Federation”. What goes next in this basis is just a pure interpretation of the new law, sometimes meaningless and weird, according to Slon resource.

Of course the society is boiling over. There were already some indignations when state officials had been banned in their will to use Skype and free mail boxes. But a question is raised: whether the use of free mail boxes and Skype in a commercial organization is justified?

Let’s go to the second point that we’ve already mentioned before. Of course there will be no technological ban for using the programs. It’s impossible to control such a process. According to Alexey Smirnov, the wisest thing we can do in this situation is to revoke the Decree N334 and to create an adequate regulatory framework.


Author: Ksenia Dzhalagonia

Tags: FSB Russian Internet    

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