Blow on online privacy: Russia introduces messenger user IDing by phone number
The decree of the Russian government introducing messenger user identification by phone number takes effect starting Sunday, May 5. A respective document was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on November 6, 2018.
According to the document, messaging services will now have to verify registration data through mobile operators who are obliged to provide subscriber information within 20 minutes upon receiving a request from a messenger. In the event that a mobile operator fails to provide user information within the specified timeframe or cites a lack of such information, the identification will be considered invalid, TASS reports.
Mobile operators will be obliged to include information about the apps their subscribers use into their databases, as well as users’ unique identification codes. In addition, mobile operators will also have to inform messengers’ administration within 24 hours in case a contract with a user is terminated. After that, the user will have to be re-identified in the messaging service.
Head of Russia’s media watchdog Alexander Zharov emphasized that the new rules would facilitate the investigative activities of law enforcement agencies.
All mobile operators (Beeline, MTS, Megafon and Tele2) interviewed by TASS prior to the government’s decree entering into force said they are ready to carry out the new requirements.