Russia wants to force taxis to hand over passenger data to security services

Russia wants to force taxis to transfer data on their passengers in real time to the Russian security services (FSB), according to a bill tabled in the lower house of parliament.

Russia wants to force taxis to hand over passenger data to security services

Russia wants to force taxis to transfer data on their passengers in real time to the Russian security services (FSB), according to a bill tabled in the lower house of parliament.

The document drawn up by the government and published Wednesday evening on the Duma website provides that taxi services, which are very popular in Russia and used via mobile applications, will be obliged to provide the FSB with real-time access to its order databases.

“It is a very difficult measure to implement. But that doesn't mean it's not necessary,” Deputy Adalbi Chkhagochev, a member of the State Duma's security and anti-corruption committee, told Ria Novosti news agency, stressing that it was a question of national "security".

Until now, the FSB could obtain this information if it filed a formal request with the companies, which had 30 days to respond, according to the chairwoman of the Civilian Council for the Development of Taxis in Russian Regions, Irina Zaripova.

“Many are frightened that the FSB can receive real-time passenger information anytime,” she told Russian radio station Kommersant FM in late March, when the idea was first floated by the Russian Ministry of Transport.

“But when it comes to national security, very often there are situations where something has happened and FSB agents need to have that data practically within an hour to solve a crime or the prevent”, she explained, assuring that “no one is going to monitor this data from morning until evening”.

"It's overstepping the bounds. To be followed without his knowledge without permission... I prefer not to use a taxi anymore, ”commented to AFP in Moscow Yacha Aliev, a 24-year-old economics student.

Kristina Kochéléva, 23, an employee of the Yandex.Plus customer support service, admits to being “uncomfortable”: “but I think that even without that, they already know everything”, she adds.

Russia has further increased restrictions on civil liberties since the start of its offensive in Ukraine on February 24.

The country notably blocked access to the popular social networks Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and brought legal action against the Meta group, accusing it of spreading "calls for murder" against Russians.

The country has also strengthened its legislative arsenal which makes it possible to punish with heavy fines or prison sentences anyone found guilty of having "discredited" the army or published "false information" about it.


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