East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 6, No. 4, Fall 1998, Covering the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe

News Note

Julie Moffett

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Church & Ministry Report mistakenly reported in volume 6 (Summer 1998), 11, that the Armenian Apostolic Church had withdrawn its membership from the World Council of Churches.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.

News Note, East-West Church & Ministry Report 6 (Fall 1998), 18.

Written permission is required for reprinting or electronic distribution of any portion of the East-West Church & Ministry Report.

1998 East-West Church and Ministry Report
ISSN 1069-5664

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