RUSSIAN SECURITY AGENCY and successor to the KGB, the Federal Security Service (FSB) has become "increasingly concerned" with the use of Gmail, Hotmail and Skype in the heart of the fomer Soviet Union, and has called for a ban on all three Internet communications services.
The FSB apparently is concerned about the "uncontrolled use" of Gmail, Hotmail and Skype, which it says might threaten Russia's national security. AFP cites the FSB's information and special communication centre director, Alexander Andreyechkin as being worried that these Internet services "use foreign-made encryption technology".
Andreyechkin, talking at a meeting of the Russian government's communication and technology committee said, "Uncontrolled usage of these services may lead to massive threat to Russia's security." AFP reports that Andreyechkin said that Gmail, Hotmail and Skype servers are outside Russia and therefore are used by extremist organisations. If only FSB director Andreyechkin could appreciate the irony of his statement.
Deputy Minister of communications Ilya Massukh said that the Russian government will receive recommendations on the regulation of encryption technology by 1 October 2011. Massukh was reportedly heard to say that the FSB would like to ban these services in Russia because "security authorities cannot access them".
Russia might well try to ban Gmail, Hotmail and Skype but that doesn't mean Russians will be unable to access them. Users outside of Russia might even support the decision, if it leads to lower spam on the email systems involved. µ
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