FSB supports expanding tools to surveil users of Russian internet
The Russian security service intends to expand its capabilities to monitor internet users and disguise its operations
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has published a report on this.
It is noted that the FSB is likely supporting amendments to a Russian State Duma bill that would expand its tools of digital authoritarianism to surveil users of Russian internet, banking, and telecom companies.
This bill would allow Russian law enforcement agencies to remotely access, edit, and delete information in Russian private businesses’ databases. The Russian State Duma is reportedly proposing these amendments to protect the personal data of Russian judges, FSB employees, and police from data leaks of personal information.
At the same time, Russian media reported that the Russian Big Data Association, which includes Russian Internet giant Yandex, Russian telecommunications companies, and banks – opposed the amendments and claimed that such access could lead to new data leaks.
The ISW experts emphasize that the FSB’s efforts to gain control over large companies’ databases are likely part of an attempt to strengthen surveillance measures over the Russian populace and populations in occupied Ukraine. In addition, the FSB intends to use potential new access to databases to mask its operations more easily.
The FSB’s potential new access to private companies’ databases may affect information security in other countries that use services provided by the Russian Big Data Association. In August, the Kremlin attempted to force Yandex into supplying international user data to the FSB.
At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia immediately began redirecting Internet traffic in the occupied Kherson region to its infrastructure.