"Vkontakte" allowed to hide certain records from the police
Yesterday, Vkontakte introduced a new function of “archiving” messages to hide records from prying eyes. Later records can be restored, said the head of the social network social network Andrei Rogozov.
The social network is known for working closely with the Russian police. There is information that upon request from law enforcement agencies in any form, even in the form of a regular email, “VK” sends personal correspondence and other data.
Lawyers remindthat there are no “oral requests” in the “On Communications” legislation. But in the Criminal Code there is article 138. "Violation of the secrets of correspondence, telephone conversations, postal, telegraph or other communications", which in paragraph 2 (committed by a person using his official position) provides for a penalty of 100 thousand rubles. to imprisonment for up to four years. Some users of the social network started filing lawsuits against Vkontakte, accusing it of illegally issuing personal data to the police. At least five such cases are being considered .
The social network itself is trying to rectify the situation. She explains why she is forced to share personal data. The users themselves are also trying to convince them that they have nothing to fear. The new function of “archiving” messages improves privacy, because it makes impossible careful data mining and detailed study of a person’s life by an outsider, and also hides information from automatic monitoring systems used by special services and the police.
The representative of "Vkontakte" confirmed "Vedomosti" that the introduction of a new function is connected with the criminal prosecution of users.
Records can be archived separately, or for a specific month or year. To do this, in the additional menu of the post appeared the button "Archive the record", as well as the tab "Archive of records" in the header of the user's microblog.
Hidden records are available only to their owner, but you can restore them if you wish. The function works only with personal pages and only in the web version, but will soon appear in mobile applications.
Andrei Rogozov said that archiving records is part of the privacy reform that the social network began in 2018, after the scandal with the transfer of personal data to the police. The director recalled that the company has already introduced closed profiles. In contrast to standard open profiles, users with closed profiles are available only to a strictly limited number of friends. Rogozov also urged users to be attentive to the kind of personal information they post on the Internet. Obviously, personal correspondence is best kept in chat rooms with strong encryption, and not through Vkontakte.
Social Network Monitoring Systems
According to the Sova Analytical Center, in 2017, 182 sentences were handed down based on materials published on social networks, at least 138 of them fell on publications in Vkontakte. The lawyers of the convicts say that the cases were initiated not only by the complaints of users, but also by the results of their own monitoring, which is carried out by law enforcement agencies. For tenders, they purchase special software for monitoring the activity of Vkontakte users, Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal and online media, which helps to increase the number of established cases for likes, reposts and other online activities.
Decriminalization of Article 282
Fortunately, after partial decriminalization of Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, courts throughout Russia began to close cases for likes and reposts instituted under the old Criminal Code.
The new version of Article 282 provides for the same responsibility and terms of punishment, but criminal liability will only come if the violation was committed more than once during the year - only from the second case of violation. For the first violation only administrative responsibility is provided, that is, a fine, arrest or compulsory work.
After the adoption of the Criminal Code and the entry into force of the Criminal Code, cases previously convicted should be terminated and the sentences canceled (in the case of a decrease in the penalty, amendments to the Criminal Code are retroactive). Since the statute of limitations for administrative liability is 1 year, that is, there will not even be an “administrative” for the majority.
Given the statute of limitations on article 282, the message archiving function is also very important for (self) protecting users.