Surveillance of Telephone and Internet Communications in the Former Soviet Union

America, land of the free---what are you, a terrorist?


vintage nsa
Matt Blaze/

In the year 2000, the Russian government established a "System for Opertional-Investigative Activities" (SORM-2). StateWatch, a European civil liberties group, explained back then:

Under SORM-1 the Federal Security Bureau (FSB, the successor to the KGB) was required to obtain a warrant before obtaining data from service providers. Under the SORM-2 regulation all Internet service providers (ISPs) are required to install a "box", rerouting device, and a high speed communications line to hot-wire the provider to FSB headquarters. A warrant from a court is still needed for agencies to read any of the contents of the messages—though human rights groups suspect this may be by-passed. The FSB says SORM will help law enforcement agencies track down and catch criminals ranging from "tax evaders to paedophiles".

The FSB seems to have forgotten about terrorists, which is the criminal class that makes this kind of civil liberties violation A-OK for the usual suspects. StateWatch also notes similar procedures and rules in place in the United Kingdom and the EU.

Maybe Khruschev was half-right?