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Police and FSB Listen In on Mobile Phone Calls

Russian mobile phone providers switched off their encryption systems for 24 hours on a government order, allowing the Federal Security Service and the police to eavesdrop on all calls.

An alert notifying callers that their conversations could be listened in on popped up on cellphones around Moscow at 9 p.m. Tuesday and lasted until 9 p.m. Wednesday on an order by the Communications Ministry. The alert, depending on the model of cellphone, is usually either an exclamation point or an unlocked padlock. [...]

"The action taken to shut down the encryption system was conducted in accordance to the existing law and in order to prevent crimes," Mobile TeleSystems said in a statement Wednesday.

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8 Responses:

  1. anton says:

    Well, FSB can listen mobile phone 24x7, because by Russian lows mobile operators should have installed a special equipment which allows FSB to do this. So it is quite a strange, what for do they need to turn off encryption systems.

  2. jblank says:

    Well, this is quite stupid disinformation.

    FSB is monitoring mobile conversations most of the time - I don't know either this is their equipment at cellphone providers or providers are sharing their own data, but few months ago there was a case (not publicly covered in mass-media), where teenagers, who stole shitloads of money from parents of one of them got caught after FSB (which was connected to the case due to parents, who were quite high on a political stage) figured out one of their cellphone numbers. They had logs of their conversations a week back the time.

  3. crs says:

    "In Soviet Russia, cell phones listen to you!" -Yakov Smirnov, if he were still alive today

  4. ciphergoth says:

    Why do they want to tap the calls while in the air, rather than at the base stations like a normal oppressive government?