Russia bans anonymous wifi

Russia bans anonymous wifi

Summary: [UPDATED] Users will be required to provide a full name and ID and to identify hardware.


According to the state-owned news agency ITAR-TASS, the government of Russia has banned anonymous access to wifi.

The report says that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order banning such access to the internet in establishments offering wifi connections, such as restaurants and public spaces.

Instead, the operators of the communications services will have to identify users with a full name confirmed by an ID. The report says that hardware must also be identified, although it's not clear what this means.

The ITAR-TASS story refers to an announcement on the Russian government website; we have not been able to locate the announcement.

A story by the US-owned Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds that bloggers also may no longer remain anonymous and that "[a] recent law requires bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to register with the country's mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern Russia's regular media outlets."

[UPDATE:] There have been two short follow-up articles from ITAR-TASS on the new rule. First "Russian ban on anonymous wi-fi access to have no impact on private access points," the body of which is identical to the headline, plus a note attributing the report to an unspecified minstry. The distinction for private Wi-Fi access points may be a distinction without a difference, as those access points all connect through ISP accounts which are not anonymous.

The second article is "Russian government may review law banning anonymous Wi-Fi," says that the new law might be changed and attributes the statement to the prime minister’s press secretary Natalya Timakova. It adds that "[t]he law has caused mixed reactions in the Russian society."

Topics: Security, Government, Wi-Fi

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  • Apparently...

    ...this is how a government keeps the "liberal media" in line.
    John L. Ries
  • Hacks

    Lots of hackers come from there.
    Might be a way of attempting to control them.
    May be not.
    • Hacks??

      No, they're happy about the hackers - they hack mainly the Western countries.

      It's only to control data over their networks. In Moscow and other major cities there are a very high percentage of foreigners, e.g. business people, students, high-tech scientists, ...

      They have also an "NSA" department, maybe not so modern as their counterpart.
  • Ha

    "In Russia, Internet Surf You!".
  • So now

    So now all you need is a fake ID and you can still hack away.
    Buster Friendly
    • Considering...

      we don't even know what an ID entails, so it may be easier said than done.
      • Benjamin Franklin... going to be a very popular Russian name for Wifi users this year.
  • the government wants to monitor all

    Activity. It is that simple.
  • Just because Russia bans anonymous wifi...

    ...doesn't mean that other, less authoritarian governments are likely to follow suit.
    John L. Ries
  • Someone just pulled

    "1984" off the bookshelf.
    • What people don't seem to get about 1984... that it is a satire, not a prophecy. There were plenty of people in Blair's day (and since) who dutifully followed the party line without considering the implications and who were perfectly willing to distort perception to suit current policy. The warning of the story is that such a mentality leads to both the fictional Oceana (and Eurasia, and Eastasia) and the real life Soviet Union under Stalin on which it was based.

      It should be noted that 84 is 48 in reverse.
      John L. Ries
  • Oh dear

    "recent law requires bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to register with the country's mass media regulator"

    This makes me so glad I live in the United States!
    Pollo Pazzo
    • Hey USA, applause!!!

      "This makes me so glad I live in the United States!" You mean that repressive, racist, truthless, arogant federation?!
      • It looks better than the alternative

        Freedom of speech is very conditional in other countries
      • Yea, okay

        Only someone pampered by a free country could even conjure that up. It's like rich kids whining and crying that it's unfair they can't get a new Ferrari every year.
        Buster Friendly
      • Fepressive, racist, truthless, arogant federation?

        Wow, you just described every country in the world.

        Pretty easy to hit the mark when everyone's your target.
      • Like all the others...

        Sorry, but it's a pretty open club that everyone has joined...
  • It rears its ugly head again

    Next you will only be able to buy Russian made phones [government and Putin cronies excluded].
    • Probably not Communism

      It seems to me that Putin's United Russia has a lot more in common with Tammany than with the Communist Party of Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev (for starters, the latter had an actual set of principles, however misguided; the former appears to be strictly non-ideological, though definitely authoritarian). In other words, Russia appears to have exchanged Communism for old fashioned bossism.
      John L. Ries