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Russia cracks down on data protection after leaks outed spies

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Russia cracks down on data protection after leaks outed spies

Russia cracks down on data protection after leaks outed spies

Russia has drawn up draft legislation aimed at stopping leaks of personal information from state agencies, a step that follows publication of details of Russians allegedly involved in clandestine intelligence operations abroad.

Anna Bevan reports.

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Russia cracks down on data protection after leaks outed spies

Russia is planning to tighten data protection laws in a bid to stop leaks of personal information from state agencies.

Reuters Christian Lowe is in Moscow.

SOUNDBITE, REUTERS RUSSIA CORRESPONDENT CHRISTIAN LOWE SAYING (ENGLISH): So why is Russia doing this?

The official version is this is part of a drive, an ongoing drive, to improve data protection.

That's what is written in the law.

However, what we know is that recently there have been a spate of really quite embarrassing leaks of official information into the public domain and that's caused a problem for the Kremlin and for the intelligence services.

For example, the two men accused of the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal in the UK were said to be outed by leaked passport information obtained by the British investigative website, Bellingcat.

The Russian government maintains the men were innocent tourists in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In a separate incident, a Russian accused in a U.S. indictment of conducting cyber attacks around the world was traced, via leaked official databases, to this address in Moscow.

Washington says it's a base for Russian military intelligence.

Russia has an active black market in illegal databases compiled using confidential information, such as passport details and tax returns, stolen from state-run registries.

Releasing personal data in this way is already illegal under existing legislation, but authorities have struggled to stamp out the practice.

If this new bill is approved it would bar unauthorized people from creating and publishing databases of personal data drawn from official sources, and fine anyone who violates that rule.




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