Russia bans anonymous wifi

[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."