Russia to somehow require IDs for using public WiFi, among other crackdown measures

Russia to somehow require IDs for using public WiFi, among other crackdown measures

[Ed. – We’re seeing into Pooty-Poot’s soul, and it ain’t pretty.]

Russia further tightened its control of the Internet on Friday, requiring people using public Wifi hotspots provide identification, a policy that prompted anger from bloggers and confusion among telecom operators on how it would work.

The decree, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on July 31 but published online on Friday, also requires companies to declare who is using their web networks. The legislation caught many in the industry by surprise and companies said it was not clear how it would be enforced.

A flurry of new laws regulating Russia’s once freewheeling Internet has been condemned by President Vladimir Putin’s critics as a crackdown on dissent, after the websites of two of his prominent foes were blocked this year.

Putin, who alarmed industry leaders in April by saying the Internet is “a CIA project”, says the laws are needed to fight “extremism” and “terrorism.” …

State newspapers Izvestia and Rossiskaya Gazeta said the law required users to provide their full names, confirmed by an ID, at public Wifi access points including cafes and public parks. The personal data would be stored for at least six months.

An official with the Moscow city government, Artem Yermolaev, said user identification could be carried out by registering a telephone number and receiving Wifi logins by SMS.

Internet companies said they knew little about the new law. “It was unexpected, signed in such a short time and without consulting us,” said Sergei Plugotarenko, head of the Russian Electronic Communications Association.

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