We Should be Very Responsible About Our Personal Details

We come across information in every step of our lives. In interaction with the world – in reality of even virtually, we leave a so-called electronic trace. According to the available information when and where the payment car…

We come across information in every step of our lives. In interaction with the world – in reality of even virtually, we leave a so-called electronic trace. According to the available information when and where the payment card was used, the registered signal of the mobile phone or according to the ordered service it is possible to reproduce a person’s route and even determine his habits. To tell the truth, all this is neither fantasy nor news.
Actually, information technologies offer a lot of possibilities. Even now, when the whole world is worried about spread of coronavirus and the quarantine that stopped the usual life, namely technologies enable organization of work and reduce potential losses. On the other hand, under certain circumstances technologies make us more vulnerable. In this text I would like to discuss this aspect in detail.  
Is it just business and nothing else?
In this context we should remember how the transportation company entered the Lithuanian market in summer 2018. At that time there were a lot of discussions whether this was good or not. A simple economic logic suggests that another player in the market of transportation companies increases competition and correspondingly reduces the price of services, which is good to the consumer. However, in this context we should talk not just about business.
Yandex is a Russian capital company. In Russia we have a situation that big ventures have to deal with the government in order to have a chance to work in the market of its country. Of course, we can mention some attempts of the ventures to resists such a situation. At a certain time the story of the company and ten years in prison of this manager Mikhail Khodorkovsky is the best example. We think it was a demonstration test to the whole business of Russia and so-called oligarchs to begin with that it was better not to resist the Kremlin. 
is not the only example. At a certain time in 2008 we heard about the story of the businessman Evgeny Chichvarkin. He was the owner of a large mobile phone retailer company According to him the government got interested in his enterprise in 2005 and in September 2008 a pre-trial investigation was initiated against him (officially, charges were brought against Y. Chichvarkin for kidnapping one of his employees). The businessman treated all this as an obvious pressure and attempted altercation. In September of the same year Y. Chichvarkin sold his venture to an oligarch who was close to the Kremlin – Alexander Mamut and fled abroad – to London.
Interaction with the government of Russia means cooperation with special services, too. It is no secret that special services would like to get the information of their interest from representatives of business. They are doing this in Russia in very aggressive ways. In this context we can remind of the story of the text messaging application Telegram. This application was developed by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durovs.
In 2017 the Federal Security Service asked to deliver encryption codes of , which would enable this special service to have access to the content of the sent messages to the service. P. Durov, who was the manager of the company of the application, refused to do this. Then the government of Russia tried to block the application – the attempts were not very successful. Making some kind of a joke we can say that the government of Russia managed to ‘block half of the Internet’, but the application was still operating. Finally, in August 2018 agreed to submit user details to special services but only of those who were suspected of terrorism and only with judicial authorization.
On the other hand, the sample of Telegram is rather exclusion than the rule. It is easier for ventures operating in Russia to comply with the demands rather than develop confrontation with special services. 
Such aspects as the law that came into effect on 1 September 2015, which obligated administrators of foreign Internet services to store data of users from Russia only in servers located in the territory of the Russian Federation, prove the fact that information about consumers is of a particular interest to special services of Russia. It is presumed that the main goal of this demand is that Russian special services had access to this information. The foreign enterprises tried to resist these attempts, for instance, certain conflicts arose between Russia and administrators of social networks and .  
Hot dilemma of justice
The discussed topic requires some emphasis. Firstly, the access to information that usually is not accessible, is based on operations of special services. This might be a very important aspect in order to prevent, for instance, acts of terrorism or other type of crimes. Actually, cases when special services that have a certain warrant or court sanction, receive information should be treated without any panic. However, we have another important aspect in this context. When we talk about special services of Russia, we have to understand that they first serve the current authoritarian regimen of the country. In other words, they carry out not only law enforcement functions, but are also used for repressions – first of all, against Russian citizens. The principal position of regarding refusal to deliver encryption codes to Federal Security Service was based on this.  
Having in mind aggressive politics of Russia against the neighbour countries we can state that special services of this country might be interested in personal information of citizens of other states, for instance, of Lithuania. It may be used for espionage and looking for weak points of the person who is the target of recruitment. Here we go back to the problem we started the topic with – whether is just a business.
Firstly, we have to mention one fact that is significant. provides data to Russian special services. This was approved at the beginning of March of the current year by Natalia Rozhkova,     spokesperson of this company. Officially, we are talking about details of Russian citizens. For instance, information that enabled policemen to implement the provocation against Ivan Golunov, a journalist from portal, was received namely from . Narcotic substances were planted to him. Later, when a tremendous public response and fuss arose, law enforcement authorities of Russia had to admit this complicated fact. At the time being police officers, who had planted drugs to the journalist, now are being prosecuted.     
N. Roszhkov in this explanation to the inquiry of the portal noted that regularly supplied details about their clients to the Russian law enforcement authorities. It is being done when such details are required. Meanwhile does not know whether a person whose details about trips are required, is a suspect or a victim of crime and actually is not able to assess legitimacy of the inquiry of details. explains its cooperation with law enforcement authorities of Russia as an obligation to supply information to law enforcement authorities when a duly filled inquiry is received.      
Risk should be realized 
Naturally, everybody decides whether to use services of (or any other service of the Russian capital, such as ). In this case it is important to realize the real risk and to think over what details go to the hands of corresponding companies and potentially – Russian special services. Can these details be used against you directly or indirectly?  
Some time ago Lithuanian special services have warned the society about the registered frequent cases when Russian special services try to recruit citizens of our country. Of course, many people think that they are of no interest to Moscow and their personal details, even if they reach Russian special services, will not give any use neither to the FSS nor GRU. Maybe that is true. However, we have to understand that information that interests special services of Russia is of quite wide spectrum and the details about where and when we went to a certain point, what we visited, what and how we bought things, tells much more about us than it might seem to us. 
Viktor Denisenko

Voras Online
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Autorius: Voras Online