Is Russia Using U.K. and U.S. Domestic Spying Laws as a Model?: New at Reason

"In Russia, the legislation is compared to the USA Patriot Act."


Igor Dolgov/Dreamstime

St. Petersburg, Russia—Did legislation in the United Kingdom and the United States inspire Russian authorities to adopt their country's new domestic spying laws? Maybe.

On July 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the "Yarovaya Law," which came into effect earlier this week. The Yarovaya Law—named after Irina Yarovaya, the ultraconservative legislator who pushed for it—is styled as an "anti-terrorism" measure. Among other things, it mandates that telecommunications and internet service providers store all telephone conversations, text messages, videos, and picture messages for six months. In addition, telecom companies must retain for three years customer metadata—that is, data showing with whom, when, for how long, and from where they communicated. The law requires "the organizers of information distribution on the Internet" to do the same thing, except they need only retain the metadata for only one year.

Russia is evidently implementing domestic surveillance that some lawmakers in the United States and the United Kingdom have long advocated in their own countries.