Public Wifi No Longer Anonymous in Russia

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Russia is tightening control over the Internet as it introduces new rules that require people to provide passport-validated phone numbers before using public Wi-Fi hotspots.

The laws ban the use of public wireless networks, creating confusion around precisely which networks would be affected and what form of identification would need to be provided.

Leonid Levin, deputy chairman of Russia’s State Duma lower chamber, said the laws would require citizens to provide their mobile phone numbers to receive log in details for all public wireless networks.

“It will affect all public places. …. the point is to make sure that people who use public wifi are responsible for the actions they choose to take online without creating additional difficulties for the users,” Levin told the Wall Street Journal.

“The identification process will consist of getting a password for wifi access by providing your mobile phone number. Since providing a passport is required to buy a SIM-card in Russia, there will be no need to show your passport.”

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