Published: 1 Dec 2017 | By Joyce Man
Russia dials up phone surveillance, overshadowing improvements in the region
Sacrificing privacy in the name of security
During the Soviet era, wiretapping extended the watchful gaze of the State into the private lives of many. Though countries reformed their laws after the USSR’s collapse, surveillance remains commonplace in the region (and indeed across the world): cases such as Zakharov v Russia have developed legal principles at the European Court of Human Rights, which should limit indiscriminate surveillance in Russia and beyond.
However more recently, Russia – like the UK and USA – has legislated increasingly intrusive phone interception laws, ostensibly in response to terrorist threats, raising fears of a return to an Orwellian surveillance system regionally. With surveillance measures in the surrounding countries historically based on Soviet law and practice, and Russia wielding political influence in the region, changes in Russia’s surveillance legislation could lead neighbouring states to emulate it.