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A Proposed Law in Russia Would Require All Social Media Users to Register With Their Passports

News Brief

Russian parliament deputy Vitaly Milonov introduced a new law today that would require all Russian internet users to register with their passport in order to use social media.

“We cannot allow for this sphere to exist outside of the law,” Milonov wrote in a memo accompanying the draft legislation. “Especially now when a growing number of social media users are becoming easy prey for various types of rascals.”

Milonov’s law calls for a government agency that would regulate social media. It’s not clear how the Russian government will be able to enforce the compulsory online registration. In 2013, Milonov successfully pushed through Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” law which was criticized for being legally vague. Milonov has advocated for the registration measure for several years and the terrorist attack in St. Petersburg on April 3 that left 14 people dead has given the legislative project new life. Milonov argues the legislation will allow the government to prevent minors under 14 years old from using social media. However, it would also effectively give the government identification information for every social media user.

It would also prevent users from registering under pseudonyms on social networks and make it illegal for people to distribute screenshots on social media without the permission of the users whose conversation or online activity is captured in the screenshot.

Today a state-run research center published a study that says that more than 60 percent of Russians support a bill that would prevent those under 14 from using social media. The study also said however, that more than half of Russians do not support a verification system that would require passport registration.