9 Apr 2018 14:04

Telegram has to provide decoding keys to FSB - State Duma deputy speaker Tolstoy

MOSCOW. April 9 (Interfax) - Telegram will stop working in Russia if it cannot provide decoding keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russian State Duma deputy speaker Pyotr Tolstoy said.

"If you cannot change, if you cannot observe Russian laws, you will not be permitted to work on the territory of the Russian Federation," Tolstoy said at an expanded meeting of the State Duma information policy committee on Monday.

"Being outside the Russian jurisdiction, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks belonging to various transnational monopolies are grinning in response, saying they, Telegram, do not have decoding keys," he said.

"Decoding keys are a wish, and there is no need to hide behind technical terms, there is no need to hide behind fake associations that gather people, make millions on the social network business, and in this case, on human tragedy," he said.

"One should not hide behind that. If you don't have keys, change the algorithm in such a way that people who protect security in the country have these keys," Tolstoy said.

The committee meeting addressed the social network regulation and the bill recently submitted to the State Duma by United Russia faction members Sergei Boyarsky and Andrei Alshevskikh that requires owners of public networks to set up their offices on Russia's territory, keep registers of user requests and delete information whose dissemination carries criminal or administrative liability at the users' requests.

A relevant law has already been adopted in Germany, Tolstoy said. "The National Assembly in France is debating a bill on the fight against fake news on social networking sites this week. Such decisions have already been made by parliaments on some other countries of the world, and criminal punishment of up to six years in prison is envisaged in some countries," he said.

"We are not talking about restricting freedom of speech, we are talking about preventing one very simple thing: when social networks and modern communication devices turn into a garbage hole," Tolstoy said.

Those who disseminated fake news on social networks, in particular, after the tragedy in Kemerovo, should apologize to society for misleading a huge number of people, he said. However, people involved in the dissemination of such information have no sense of guilt, and at the same time there is no mechanism to legislatively regulate issues associated with the dissemination of fake news, including those relating to significant information, he said. "Social networks continue ignoring all requirements of the law," Tolstoy said.

Boyarsky earlier told Interfax, commenting on the bill, that the tragic events in Kemerovo made the authors resubmit this initiative. "Because one of the things that makes it different from the previous edition is that it requires owners of public networks to restrict or delete information that we call false [information] of public importance," he said.

This is the kind of information that was disseminated [with ill intentions or without ill intentions" on social networking sites on the number of victims of the fire in the shopping center Zimnyaya Vishnya, he said.