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[FYI] (Fwd) RUSSIA: The Supreme Court protects online privacy

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Thu, 28 Sep 2000 01:54:41 +0400
From:           	"Sergei Smirnov" <moscow@hro.org>
Subject:        	RUSSIA: The Supreme Court protects online privacy
To:             	<gilc-plan@gilc.org>
Send reply to:  	gilc-plan@gilc.org

On Monday, 25th of September, the Supreme Court of Russia agreed that
current implementation of SORM was unlawful.

SORM (stands for "system of operative/investigative activity") is a
system that has been installed by Russian secret service FSB (a
successor to KGB) onto telephone, cellular and Internet networks since
early 90ies. The system provided local FSB departments with
instruments of remote control over communications so any message could
be intercepted. According to Russian legislation the judge's warrant
is still a must. However, with the new SORM system secret agents have
had no obligations to show any warrants to anyone (including
providers) before starting their wiretapping activity. The company has
had to pay both for SORM hardware and training for FSB staff. Most of
Russian communication companies agreed with FSB initiative since the
only alternative was to loose their licenses.

Two months ago Leonid Reiman, Russian Minister of Communications,
signed the ministerial order N 130 that implemented SORM. On August, 9
the document was registered in the Ministry of Justice. It was sharply
criticized by online community. Pavel Netupsky, a journalist from
Saint-Petersburg, filed a case in Supreme Court against the order N
130. On Monday this week the Court agreed that item 2.6 of the
document was unlawful and non-applicable.

Netupsky said he planned to appeal against a series of ministerial
orders but a few days ago Minister Reiman revoked those issued before
N 130. Finally the Court's decision applied only to item 2.6. In this
item is was stipulated that no information about objects of
wiretapping and any decisions that were made to switch on the SORM
system can be transferred to the communication company.

The order N 130 applies mostly to cellular, pager and telephone
companies. Internet is not mentioned but some media suggested that the
order at whole could be applied to Internet also.

Sergei Smirnov
Human Rights Network

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