Putin Says All Encryption Must Be Backdoored In Two Weeks

from the make-it-snappy dept

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the push by the Russian Duma to pass a massive new surveillance bill that would mandate backdoors to encryption as well as massive data retention requirements for service providers, including saying that they need to store recordings of phone calls. As you may have heard, earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law. And apparently to prove that he's serious about all of this, Putin has also signed an executive order telling the FSB (the modern version of the KGB) to make sure it gets encryption keys to unlock everything within the next two weeks.
After signing controversial anti-terrorist legislation earlier today, President Putin ordered the Federal Security Service (the FSB, the post-Soviet successor to the KGB) to produce encryption keys to decrypt all data on the Internet. According to the executive order, the FSB has two weeks to do it. Responsibility for carrying out Putin's instructions falls on Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the FSB.
As the article notes, there's a lot of uncertainty here, because in many cases, when things are encrypted locally or where there are private keys, there isn't any way for service providers to turn over any keys.

What happens next is a little unclear. But it seems likely that the Russian government will use this to attack certain encrypted communications services, and potentially block and/or fine them for failing to comply with the new law. There has been a lot of talk about how Ed Snowden has been speaking out against this law, as he should. Considering that he uses a number of different encryption systems to communicate with the world, this law puts him very directly in danger. But it also puts lots of other people at risk as well. As we've been pointing out for a while, encryption does much more to protect everyday citizens than it does to hide the communications of "terrorists." Undermining that puts a lot more people at risk of people hacking into their stuff than being a victim of a terrorist attack.

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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 8 Jul 2016 @ 10:49am

    This will make the NSA's job much easier.....along with the rest of the world.

    Dear Congress critters,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 10:49am

    As the old adage goes...

    Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 10:50am

    Oh, so Russia decided to commit digital suicide before the US. Let's see if the Russian tech companies will start relocating. Meanwhile let's avoid Russian software, shall we?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 10:55am

    Oh, Russian shills...

    Won't you come out to play?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 10:55am

    Let's also see what new forms of Steganographic crypto appear in response.

    If plausible deniability encryption starts becoming public and popular in response to this then it means we in the US will be prepared when our government makes the same mistake.

    In the meantime, the people of Russia are about to get way more vulnerable to hackers, state-endorsed or otherwise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 10:56am

    What is it about politics that give politicians such delusions?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 10:59am

    In a related story...

    Alexander Bortnikov, ex-head of the FSB, appealed to the European Union for political asylum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:24am

      Re: In a related story...

      I think that Alexander Bortnikov has asked Snowden if he has a spare bedroom to rent.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:48am

        Re: Re: In a related story...

        Bortnikov assassinated by polonium-210 poisoning (unwittingly irradiating everyone he knows in the meantime) in 3...2...1...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:06am

    Not all all unexpected

    This really isn't all that unexpected 'cause Putin has been behaving like a despot for quite a while now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:08am

    Sorry, haven't quite read the piece yet, but....

    Ahhhh-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-haaah-ha-heh-hoo-hoo-hehh. gasp.

    omfg, it hurts a little..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:35am

    Well...

    I think that Putin should be backdoored. Oh, wait...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:38am

    once a spy, always a spy

    Since Putin -- a spy by trade -- spent years running the world's second largest spy agency, is it really a surprise that he might tend to view government spying as a good thing?

    The NSA or CIA might not be the only ones to plant backdoors in open source encryption. A rather high proportion of the world's crypographic experts are Russian. The RSA debacle might not be unique.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:49am

    disgraceful and should be condemned but is it so different from what is wanted in the USA, in the UK and many other so-called democratic countries? no! it fucking isn't! that's why those who want to do it are removing democracy for good and those who dont want it are condemned as being backers of terrorism! ridiculous!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:51am

    At first I didn't think the U.S. could manage to 1984 the whole world, but with Putin's help they might just have a shot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 11:56am

    mUSIC TO THAT??

    Putin on the ritz??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Yakko Warner (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 12:01pm

    Talk about a no-win scenario

    President Putin ordered the Federal Security Service to produce encryption keys to decrypt all data on the Internet. According to the executive order, the FSB has two weeks to do it.


    Decrypt all data on the Internet? The whole Internet?

    Might as well order them to solve global warming and world peace while he's at it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      yankinwaoz (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 4:01pm

      Re: Talk about a no-win scenario

      Thank you. I was wondering the same thing. Doesn't that mean that Russia wants access to my Gmail here in the US?

      I wonder of the FSB has presented Putin with an invoice for doing this massive job? Talk about unfunded directives!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 12:11pm

    Backdoors and Payment Processing

    I'm probably just ignorant on the subject but how is commerce supposed to work in a world where, effectively, all information is public to some entity? In addition, how about between two financial institutions. Seems like it would break down things in a very fundamental way in for Wall Street.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2016 @ 7:32am

      Re: Backdoors and Payment Processing

      These back door schemes almost always have exceptions in the fine print for certain people. These certain people are usually the government itself and it's favorite partners (such as the banking industry).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 12:30pm

    The solution...

    Janek's black box.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 8 Jul 2016 @ 12:54pm

    When everyone's super, no one is!

    This was asked once during a Congressional hearing I think. If {Company} is required to give a back-door key to the US Government, what if the Russia also required the back-door key? Now both countries have it, and neither (or no) country can trust it. RIP {Company A}.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sargas, 8 Jul 2016 @ 1:08pm

    Join the club.

    The new legislation also violates Russian citizens' right to the privacy of correspondence, which is enshrined in Article 23 of the Constitution. In order to deprive Russians of this right, police need a court order. The “Yarovaya legislation,” however, grants law-enforcement agencies access to everyone's messages without any judicial oversight. [link]

    Seems like Putin and the FSB are one the came page as Obama and the FBI.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 3:42pm

    This is obviously not an attack on encryption.

    Alexander Bortnikov is simply being fired. ‌ It is obvious
    that Putin's order is impossible to carry out and I'm sure
    he doesn't care that everyone knows it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 3:56pm

    If there is a back door it isn't in truth encrypted. Sorry comrade Putin, but having your keys put me in the drivers seat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    any moose cow word, 8 Jul 2016 @ 4:02pm

    Basically, this means they have two weeks to relocate their data and web services outside of Russian territories and a mass exodus of the .ru domain. What's worse is that could just as well be the fate of the US and the .com domain. We're just a few months from potentially electing a president that admires authoritarians such as Putin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      any moose cow word, 8 Jul 2016 @ 4:13pm

      Re:

      To put this in perspective, the massive exodus of knowledge and talent from Nazi Germany to the US was a huge boost to our economy. Now, imagine that happening again, except this time it's fleeing the US for Europe or Asia. It's already happened in part within the physics community after we dropped our super collider project. When the LHC was announced, many of them grabbed passports and left for Europe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 5:25pm

    Hey hackers Russia is about to become a target rich environment. Rubles for all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2016 @ 6:12pm

    If it wasn't for "terrorism", it would be for: copyright, children, bad guys etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 8 Jul 2016 @ 8:57pm

    Putin is making the old Soviet Union look like a democracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Monkey (profile), 8 Jul 2016 @ 9:43pm

    1984

    You know, Orwell was trying to write a good, riveting story. He was NOT trying to predict the future. That seems to be something those in power fail to grasp.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 9 Jul 2016 @ 12:11am

      Cautionary fiction

      It's a pretty commonplace story type: Miserable citizens of a thoroughly oppressive dystopia get a taste of love and inner meaning and attempt to reconcile this with the society around them. Sometimes they escape the society, sometimes it tears them apart.

      These days, young adult fiction is full of the stuff.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Seegras (profile), 10 Jul 2016 @ 11:25am

        Re: Cautionary fiction

        These days, young adult fiction is full of the stuff.
        That's because just about all the politicians try to ruin their respective countries by turning them into thoroughly oppressive dystopias.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2016 @ 12:24am

    They should decrypt just major emails, not just any.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2016 @ 8:04am

    The age of fucking stupid fucking surveillance

    FFFFFUCK!

    Pardon my frensh

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2016 @ 8:21am

    Do you think Putin (given the rumors flying around the Kremlin) couldn't help but lick his lips and moan slightly when someone said "Internet Backdooring"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2016 @ 9:09am

    Will the FSB keep all the keys in an encrypted server waiting to be plucked?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2016 @ 10:17am

    Had a boss who used to make demands like that,

    Of course everybody knew he was coked out of his mind when he'd make them. My guess is he is probably VP by now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2016 @ 5:54pm

    I almost want to put the "you call will be recorded" message before any outbound calls to Russia now, but it would probably generate too many support tickets.

    Interesting how the virtual walls appear the same as physical borders are reinforced. The world is closing itself off from each other, and I have trouble staying optimistic about it :/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whatever, 10 Jul 2016 @ 9:21pm

    Excellent, excellent news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BoB, 24 Jul 2016 @ 8:01am

    Sensationalist bullcrap

    I dont understand what the whole fuss is all about. In many countries around the world the policy is that all telcos maintain data for a given amount of time, and metadata also. And its also known that any company that uses enryption for data comunication must provide keys to government if requested, and they do, which is actually what the article says. There have been many cases where VPN providers, for example, gave keys to data and access to logs when request was made by local law enforcement agencies. VPN providers, for example, have the right to refuse foreign agencies. All this is some sensationalist bull - keys to the internet...ROFL!
    P.S. in Australia this already been done, wake up, no one caress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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