Week-ending 5 November 2021
On 2 November 2021 RFE/RL reported that the Russian authorities had detained three men whom they suspected of illegally obtaining the personal data of Federal Security Service (FSB) agents whom jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has accused of being involved in his poisoning last year. The three suspects — Pyotr Katkov, Aleksandr Zelentsov, and Igor Zaitsev — allegedly gathered information about the phone billing data of FSB agents on behalf of Navalny and have been charged with forgery and violation of privacy laws. Russia has recently tightened up privacy laws, apparently in particular with a view to prevent dissemination about FSB agents and other categories of government officials. For example, Gabriela Zanfir Fortuna and Regina Iminova reported on 1 March 2021 that amendments to the Russian general data protection law (Federal Law No. 152-FZ on Personal Data), which entered into force that day, ‘criminalize disclosure of personal data about “protected persons” (several categories of government officials). The amendments to the data protection law envision the introduction of consent based restrictions for any organization or individual that publishes personal data initially, as well as for those that collect and further disseminate personal data that has been distributed on the basis of consent in the public sphere, such as on social media, blogs or any other sources.’ Another example is the 60-item list of information contained in a decree issued by the FSB concerning Russia’s military, space agency and security services that, while not classified as state secrets, ‘foreign states, organisations and citizens can use against Russia’s security.’ The decree of the FSB was issued on 28 September 2021 under Article 2.1, Part 1, of Federal Law No. 272-FZ of 28 December 2012 ‘On means to act on persons involved in violations of basic human rights and freedoms and rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation‘ and in accordance with Point 1 of the Provisions of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation confirmed by the Presidential Decree of the Russian Federation on 11 August 2003 No. 960.
RFE/RL, 2 November 2021: The Russian authorities have detained three men suspected of illegally obtaining the personal data of Federal Security Service (FSB) agents whom jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has accused of being involved in his poisoning last year.
RFE/RL, 4 November 2021: Two former inmates of the penal colony in Russia’s Vladimir region have described what they said were the penitentiary administration’s methods used to put pressure on jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. Nariman Osmanov and Yevgeny Burak told Dozhd TV in an interview broadcast on November 4 that the colony administration placed Navalny in a group of inmates that had been specially formed to deal with the opposition leader. According to Osmanov, all the inmates in the brigade had been instructed not to talk to Navalny and record each of his steps on a daily basis.
Future of Privacy Forum, 1 March 2021: Amendments to the Russian general data protection law (Federal Law No. 152-FZ on Personal Data) adopted at the end of 2020 enter into force today (Monday, March 1st), with some of them having the effective date postponed until July 1st. [Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna and Regina Iminova]
Rights in Russia: Law of the Week: FSB publishes list of information concerning Russia’s military, space agency and security services that ‘can be used against Russia’s security.’