Author: Andrei Soldatov

(By Andrei Soldatov, journalist and information security specialist. The Moscow Times, Dec. 8, 2016, p. 2. Condensed text:). .. The new Information Security Doctrine signed by President Vladimir Putin on Dec. 6 is the very embodiment of the concept of state security. The list of threats listed in the document includes "hostile coverage of Russian state policy" by foreign media; destabilization of Russian regions by "informational-psychological means" (i.e., by foreign intelligence services); the use of IT to disrupt the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political stability of Russia, and so on.

On the one hand, none of this is particularly new. Many of the terms were already used in the first Information Security Doctrine, signed in 2000 [see Current Digest, Vol. 52, No. 37, p. 6], while others came into use after the "Arab Spring" and the Moscow protests in 2011 - 2012, when the Kremlin was awakened to the potential of social media.

But the new document has also an unmistakably new/old Soviet touch. Here, security comes first, and technology comes second. The authors of the doctrine are not happy with "the practice of introducing information technologies without first providing for information security"; they think it increases risks. As far as they are concerned, telecom and IT companies should always consult with secret services ahead of introducing new services and technologies for their customers.

The doctrine questions the very essence of the modern information society: the free flow of information across borders. "The possibilities of cross-border flow of information are used increasingly for geopolitical or military-political goals in conflict with international law," reads the "Threats" chapter of the doctrine, a thinly veiled hint at so-called "Twitter revolutions." There are mentions of ominous forces building the means to disrupt "critical infrastructure" of the Internet.

What this means in practice is that telecom companies will have to ask secret services where to have ...

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