31 Dec 2019 20:59

StartMail online mailing service included in Russia's register of organizers of information distribution - Roskomnadzor

MOSCOW. Dec 31 (Interfax) - The Russian telecommunications state regulator Roskomnadzor has included Start Mail B.V., owner of the encrypted mail service StartMail, in the register of organizers of information distribution (OID), obliging the company to preserve Russian users' messages during six months, in compliance with the Yarovaya package of laws.

"On December 16, 2019, the Roskomnadzor received an application from Russian agencies in charge of investigative activities and national security asking it to send a request to an organizer of information distribution on the Internet - Start mail B.V. (company domiciled in the Netherlands) for a notification of the start of activities," the Roskomnadzor's press service said in a written answer to an Interfax request for comment on Monday.

Start Mail on December 27 "presented the requested notification and was added to the register of the organizers of information distribution via the Internet," it said.

The Internet-freedom advocacy group Roskomsvoboda earlier drew attention to the inclusion of the mailing service, which positions itself as confidential and safeguarding the data of its users, in the OID register. The Roskomsvoboda monitors instances of including organizations in the Roskomnadzor's registers.

Some media reported earlier that series of anonymous letters with fake bomb alerts had been sent out in a bulk mailing, including from addresses pertaining to the service.

According to the Russian federal law on information, the Roskomnadzor will form the OID register in coordination with government agencies conducting investigative activities and national security agencies.

From July 1, 2018, all OID's must keep for six months messages of Russian Internet users and share them with law enforcement authorities, on request, in implementation of the Yarovaya legislation package.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed in July 2016 amendments to antiterrorist laws proposed by State Duma deputy Irina Yarovaya, her fellow United Russia members Alexei Pushkov and Nadezhda Gerasimova, and Federation Council member Viktor Ozerov. Together with the so-called Yarovaya Package, or Yarovaya Bill, Putin signed a set of instructions for the Russian government. A majority of amendments made by two federal laws as part of the Yarovaya Package took effect in 2016.