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Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2098

The FSB tackles metadata;
Crimea's Tatars seek legal recourse

Edited by Amanda Azinheira
October 24, 2016


September 27: 

The Kremlin has decided to develop alternative methods of tracking and monitoring decrypted data within Russia. The "Yarovaya package," as the country's newest anti-terrorism law - passed several weeks ago - is known, stipulates that data companies will need to store telecommunication and internet data for a mandatory six-month period. But ongoing protests from Russian telecom firms, as well as the exorbitant costs involved in building the storage infrastructure necessary, have prompted the Kremlin to seek another approach - via the FSB. 

According to The Moscow Times, the country's main internal security service is now working with the government to decrypt online traffic in real-time, giving the FSB the power to search keywords (e.g., "bomb") and examine the messages, links, sites and other metadata of individuals. The program is used to identify so-called "Man in the Middle" (MITM) attacks that link two individuals together in order to execute potential attacks. 

September 28:

In yet another move aimed at centralizing power, Russian President Vladimir Putin is placing the country's various security agencies under the authority of a new and powerful entity: the Ministry of State Security. Although reform of the security agencies dates back in 2007, 
Politico Europe notes, the new agency will be a reversal of Putin's general bureaucratic tactic of "divide-and-rule," giving the Russian president personal oversight over the totality of the country's often unaccountable intelligence and security bodies. 

September 29:

Russia is continuing to attempt to manipulate the U.S. elections, the FBI has suggested. In recent Congressional testimony, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that there have been more "attempted intrusions" into U.S. voter registration databases, above and beyond recently-uncovered hacks of the Democratic National Committee. Those hacks were attributed to Russian hackers, and the FBI is now looking "very, very hard" at whether the supplemental intrusions are also the work of Russian hacking groups, 
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports

September 30:

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, a Ukrainian human rights watchdog, reports that Russia's Supreme Court has formally banned the Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, the main indigenous people of the Crimean peninsula. The ruling is now binding on Russian-annexed Crimea, and while Crimean Tatars are seeking recourse with the European Court of Human Rights, that process could take many years. Their argument is a substantive one: that the Court's decision is in direct conflict with the Tatars' right to self-government that is protected under the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Russian authorities, however, have claimed that the Mejlis was a "civic organization" and complicit in actions "directed against Russia's territorial integrity." 

Russia has praised OPEC's recent decision to freeze production for its members. The move is an advantageous one for Russia, 
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports. It will help bolster oil prices and allow the Russian government - which is the largest oil producer operating outside the cartel - to fill its hemorrhaging national coffers. 


Related Categories: Russia; Russia and Eurasia Program

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