In the run-up to the summer vacation, Russian lawmakers submitted a new draft bill to the State Duma.
Senator Andrei Klishas, an author of laws on insulting the Constitution and the state on the Internet, insulting the authorities and responsibility for fake news, came up with the idea of identifying email users by their phone numbers or passport data. According to the project, the mail services should be tasked with monitoring the content of mails and deleting the messages containing information that is prohibited on the territory of Russia, but sending them to the appropriate authorities as well.
However, Damir Gainutdinov, a legal analyst of Agora human rights group, stresses that the draft bill applies to the services put on the state-run register of information providers, including such big and unreliable companies as Yandex and Mail.ru which closely cooperate with the Russian authorities.
As Google, Yahoo and Hotmail are not on Russia’s list, they are highly unlikely to fall under the would-be law. These resources can only be blocked.
“In my opinion, the decision to block global platforms such as Google, Facebook or Twitter would not be linked to their observance of the insane Russian laws. There are enough reasons for that, but the decision will be made by the Kremlin,” Damir Gainutdinov says.
Stanislav Shakirov, the technical director of the Roskomsvoboda project, believes that the bill will not be given even its first reading:
“I would not take it seriously, the draft bill is nonsense, and I doubt that it will be read at all. Such law will destroy the Russian services, and foreign ones will never obey. Therefore, I am sure that Yandex and Mail.ru will manage to fight back against this law, because it is not in their interests at all.”
In turn, the authors of the initiative hope that the access to Russians’ mails will help to put an end to false reports of terrorist attack. The Russian authorities faced the challenge in late January. Moreover, the MPs push for ‘strengthening the fight against extremists’.