A Russian Internet expert believes Russia's secret police are poised to implement a regulation that will permit them to monitor all electronic mail and Internet communications in the country without having to show a warrant. Anatoly Levenchuk, the webmaster of a special site devoted to educating the public about the new regulation, told RFE/RL in a telephone interview from Moscow that he is exposing the regulation, code-named SORM-2, as an attempt by the secret police to return to totalitarian-style tactics. Levenchuk says SORM-2 -- which stands for "systems for ensuring investigative activity" -- is an enhancement of SORM-1, a regulation already in place in Russia. According to Levenchuk, SORM-1 permits surveillance of specific electronic mail or Internet communication, but only after officials petition the courts for a warrant. SORM-2 would require all Russian Internet and network providers to install a so-called "black box," or special surveillance device, in their main computers and devote a high-speed line directly to each local FSB (secret police) department.
Source: Excerpt reprinted with permission from the Weekday Magazine of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 20 August 1998. The complete text is available at http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/1998/08/F.RU.980820125102.html.
Editor's Note: View Levenchuk's website at http://www.ice.ru/libertarium/sorm/ (in Russian). Levenchuk also maintains a smaller, English-language site at http://www.ice.ru/libertarium/eng/sorm/. New Zealand activist Craig Carey also maintains a helpful website of English-language news on SORM and issues of internet and e-mail privacy at http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/research/sorm.htm. For a comprehensive analysis of SORM, see Jeanette Borzo, "Russian Legislation Strikes Fear on the Net," The Industry Standard, 5 August 1998, available at http://www.thestandard.net/articles/news_display/0,1270,1300,00.html. At present, no word has been received on the implementation of SORM-2 regulations.
The East-West Church & Ministry Report mistakenly reported in volume 6 (Summer 1998), 11, that the Armenian Apostolic Church had withdrawn its membership from the World Council of Churches. It has not. The editor expresses his regret for this error.
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© 1998 East-West Church and Ministry Report