New Anti-Corruption Social Network In Russia Requires Numerous Personal Details To Join: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

from the how-secure-is-that-database? dept

As the murder of the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov last week reminds us, the political situation in Russia is not just difficult, but extremely dangerous. Presumably hoping that technology might offer a relative safe way to cope with this situation, a Russian NGO has announced that it will be launching a nationwide social network dedicated to fighting bribery and corruption. You might expect that anonymity would be a crucial aspect, given the risks faced by those who choose to join. And yet, as this RT article explains, that's not the case (via @prfnv):

the new project will have one major difference from existing social networks -- a complete lack of anonymity. Membership will only be granted by invitation from existing members, and even when this condition is met, the institute that launches the project promises to open accounts only after verifying the identity of potential members in real life.

The users will have to provide a lot of details about themselves -- from name and date of birth, to place of work, e-mail and phone numbers. The people launching the project say that this is a necessary measure to prevent attempted slander, which they see as the main danger threatening their network.
That people could use the network to spread false accusations is certainly a risk, but hardly the main danger, which is surely that those accused of corruption may decide to settle things in the same way as Nemtsov's enemies. Creating a network of anti-corruption activists and lawyers will make its membership database extremely desirable for many nefarious actors, who would doubtless find things like place of work and phone numbers useful for future attempts to "dissuade" people from coming forward with information about bribe-taking. Let's just hope the new social network's security advisers are really good.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

Filed Under: anonymity, corruption, privacy, russia, social networks, whistleblowers

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  1. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 5 Mar 2015 @ 5:07am

    Re: Huh, haven't seen that before

    (mr roger's voice)
    can you say, 'honeypot' ?
    sure, i knew you could...

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