On May 5, a government decree on the obligation of the owners of Messengers to identify the users of their resources by telephone number came into force in Russia. The relevant document was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on 6 November 2018.
According to the government decree, Messengers should to check the information about the registration of the user’s phone number with the mobile operator.
“In case of non-receipt of information from the operator within 20 minutes after the request or receipt of information about the absence of subscriber information in the databases, the identification is considered not completed”, — stated in the document.
If the mobile operator finds the requested phone number in its database, it also undertakes to specify which messengers the subscriber uses and assign a special identification code to him. In addition, the mobile operator must notify the administration of the messenger within 24 hours upon termination of the service agreement with the subscriber.
And if the organizer of the service refuses to fulfill the new requirements, he will face a fine of up to one million, as well as blocking the Messenger on the territory of Russia.
Earlier, Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister, expressed confidence that the new rules of user identification in Messengers will not bring problems and financial costs for the IT industry.
Alexander Zharov, the Head of Roskomnadzor recalled that earlier it was enough to simply enter the code sent in an SMS message for registration in the Messenger. However, there was a risk that the person will register on someone else’s phone number.
“The possibility of anonymous communication in Messengers made it difficult for law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes,” said the Head of Roskomnadzor. At the same time, Zharov emphasized that these rules do not violate the secrecy of correspondence.
Russian mobile operators said they are ready to meet the new requirements. Representatives from Facebook (including Facebook Messenger), Whats App, Instagram and Viber have not yet to respond to the request.