Russians react strongly against attack on SKYPE et al

Seems the successor to the KGB, the FSB, considers the most popular means of communication by the Internet to be a threat to national security.

Russia: FSB Representative Urges to Ban Skype, Gmail, and Hotmail

Alexander Andreyechkin, head of Information and Special Communications Protection Center of Federal Security Service (FSB), said that uncontrollable use of Skype, Gmail, and Hotmail ‘can lead to a massive threat to Russia’s security” and urged to ban these services, RIA Novosti reported.

Fortunately for free speech advocates in Russia, bloggers stepped up and complained.

Russia: Bloggers Stop FSB Initiative To Ban Skype

Right after this news appeared, it was as if the alarm bells had started to sound; a wave of indignant users on LiveJournal and Twitter rose up. The activity and popularity surrounding this topic exceeded that attained by the recent popular topic of Nikita Mikhalkov [a renowned Russian movie director, however, regulary criticised by the blogger community.

Some of the comments included that maybe the FSB itself should be banned.


From the FSB’s point of view, the ideal solution would be the recognition of the fact that the mere existence of citizens in our country represents a threat to national security

The uproar forced the Russian government to “clarify” its postion:

There were three main ideas in the rebuff  from the Kremlin source: 1. The FSB representative was giving a personal opinion and not that of the government; 2. Skype and Gmail are not threats to Russia’s security; 3. Government policy vis-à-vis the Internet is not determined by special services.

So a small victory against repression. And a big victory for Internet-based people power.

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Filed under Censorship, Freedom of Information, Press Freedom

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