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Opinion piece
Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's picture

This is a excerpt from a piece, written by Privacy International partners Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, which appears in the Fall issue of the World Policy Journal:

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Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's picture

A longer version of this article was previously published in Wired on 10 May 2013.

We all know surveillance is big in Putin’s Russia. What you may not know is that Russia’s surveillance tech is being used all over the world, even in the U.S.

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Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's picture

In order to lawfully conduct communications surveillance (“lawful interception”) in the U.S. and Western Europe, a law enforcement agency must seek authorisation from a court and produce an order to a network operator or internet service provider, which is then obliged to intercept and then to deliver the requested information. In contrast, Russian Federal Security Service operatives (FSB) can conduct surveillance directly by utilising lawful interception equipment called SORM.

SORM

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Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's picture

On November 12, the Russian Supreme Court okayed the wiretapping of an opposition activist. The Court ruled that spying on Maxim Petlin, a regional opposition leader in Yekaterinburg, was lawful, since he had taken part in rallies where calls against extending the powers of Russia’s security services were heard. The court decided that these were demands for “extremist actions” and approved surveillance carried out by the national interception system, known as SORM.

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Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's picture

On the surface, it’s all about protecting Russian kids from internet pedophiles. In reality, the Kremlin’s new “Single Register” of banned websites, which goes into effect today, will wind up blocking all kinds of online political speech. And, thanks to the spread of new internet-monitoring technologies, the Register could well become a tool for spying on millions of Russians.

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Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's picture

Privacy International, Agentura.Ru, the Russian secret services watchdog, and Citizen Lab have joined forces to launch a new project entitled 'Russia’s Surveillance State'. The aims of the project are to undertake research and investigation into surveillance practices in Russia, including the trade in and use of surveillance technologies, and to publicise research and investigative findings to improve national and international awareness of surveillance and secrecy practices in Russia.