Operators request further dialogue on ‘ambiguous’ data storage legislation

11 Jul 2016

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed into law anti-terrorist bills which oblige communications companies including fixed/mobile network operators and ISPs to store users’ calls, messages and other content, the PRIME news agency reports. Under the new laws, operators must store information on calls, text messages, photos, sounds and video exchange on Russian territory for three years, and actual content of voice communications and other correspondence for six months. Internet access providers must keep this information for one year. Regarding operators’ concerns over the cost of implementing such measures, presidential press-secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters that alongside the anti-terrorism package, a list of orders was also signed to monitor the implementation of the law in regards to minimising possible risks related to financial expenses.

Communications operators said earlier that the measures could ‘double or triple tariffs’ for users, with the four largest cellcos – MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom (Beeline) and Tele2 Russia – stating that their collective compliance costs under the new rules could reach RUB2.2 trillion (USD34 billion) with no state compensation. As quoted by PRIME, VimpelCom and Tele2 said they will request further discussions with the government on the law, whilst a MegaFon spokesperson was quoted as saying: ‘We are still sticking to our position that the government should handle storage instead of private companies. We will stand firm for it.’ Communications & Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov was quoted as saying: ‘Mobile connection tariffs will not rise in 2016 despite the law … The time of coming into force of the ambiguous regulation, regarding issues of storage of users’ data, falls on 2018. The necessary order of data storage will be determined by the government. On these grounds, we can surely say that we don’t expect any increases in connection prices as a result of the law.’