Russia's Duma approves bill requiring decryption backdoors

The Russian assembly's lower house approved sweeping anti-terrorism legislation that requires companies to decrypt any message sent by users.

The surveillance laws would enlist messaging apps, social networks, and other services in providing the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, with access to all communications within Russia upon request.

Russia's State Duma voted 277-148 for the legislation with one abstention. The legislation was drafted by Irina Yarovaya, head of the Duma Committee for security and combating corruption and a member of the United Russia ruling party. The bill now moves to the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, and then is expected to be signed by President Vladimir Putin.

The legislation requires Russia's telecom operators to store phone call and text message metadata for three years, and also requires phone call and text message records storage for six months. Existing Russian law supports an extensive surveillance system. Last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia's mobile communications surveillance system violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

Policies seeking to enhance surveillance capabilities continue to be pursued by lawmakers globally. On Monday, China's parliament held a second reading of stringent cyber-security legislation that would increase internet censorship in the country while the U.S. Senate considers a proposal that would expand the use of National Security Letters.