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Russia Bans Anonymous Public Wi-Fi

Published: August 11, 2014 (Issue # 1823)



  • Russians may not be able to enjoy the pleasure of convenient Wi-Fi Internet access in city parks much longer.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

Users of public Wi-Fi spots in Russia will soon be required to disclose their identities, a top official said in the latest of many attempts to explain a cryptic new batch of regulations.

A variety of different sources can be used to identify would-be web surfers, from their bank card details to login information from the federal government's service portal, to codes texted to users' mobile phones, Mass Media and Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said Friday.

"User identification ... is a worldwide practice," Nikiforov said on his Twitter feed.

Russian netizens have about a month of Wi-Fi anonymity left: ID procedures will be set up by early September, Federal Mass Media Inspection Service deputy head Maxim Ksenzov said Saturday.

The governmental decree on the matter, meanwhile, will enter into effect next Tuesday.

Passport or No Passport?

The vaguely worded document was initially understood by media and experts to require a passport to access Wi-Fi in a cafe or shopping mall.

But Nikiforov's ministry said Friday that passports will only be necessary at state-funded access points, mostly found at post offices in small towns nationwide. Still, some form of identification will be mandatory for public Wi-Fi elsewhere, the ministry said in a statement.

But apparently to the contrary, Ksenzov told ITAR-Tass on Friday that identification will only be required at post offices and Internet cafes, but not restaurants, shopping malls, airports and other public places.

The discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled.

Storing Personal Data

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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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