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Russia's security service proposes ban of foreign Internet services
[April 08, 2011]

Russia's security service proposes ban of foreign Internet services

MOSCOW, Apr 08, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Foreign-based Internet services must be limited in Russia as they have a potential to undermine national security, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Friday.

The proposal mentioned the names of Gmail, Hotmail and Skype, according to local media.

"Uncontrolled use of these services might lead to massive threats for Russian security," said Alexander Andreechkin, head of the FSB's Center for Information Protection and Special Communications, adding that the threats would come from the fact that those services enable the users to encrypt the data they send.

The FSB also stressed that its proposals "would not create any inconveniences for the common users" but must enforce the foreign services to obey national laws and international practices.

Later on the day, Russian Prime Minister's spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the FSB's concerns as "reasonable." Deputy communications minister Ilya Massukh also said that recommendations on regulating the mass usage of encryption technology would be submitted to the government by October 1.

However, Russian Communications Minister Igor Shchegolev on Friday said that the proposal does not mean the ban of foreign Internet services in Russia altogether.

Russian authorities repeatedly voice concerns over the lack of judicial base which governs the work of the foreign communication services in the country.

Local experts say that the foreign providers of the so-called Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) in Russia exist in a "grey zone" because the technology has not been regulated by the local laws.

In 2008, Canada's RIM company, producer of the Blackberry cell phones, was forced by the FSB to open its codes under a threat of being banned from the Russian market.

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