FSB wants to introduce responsibility for the covert use of voice recorders and cameras in smartphones [and not only]

Published on July 03, 2018

FSB wants to introduce responsibility for the covert use of voice recorders and cameras in smartphones [and not only]

    The Federal Security Service has submitted for public discussion amendments to the Criminal and Administrative Codes of the Russian Federation, in which it is proposed to define the term “special technical means intended for secretly obtaining information”.

    Now there is no definition of such technical means. In the new editions of the Criminal Code and the Administrative Code, under such special means, in theory, numerous applications for smartphones with functions to record audio, video and photos in the hidden or implicit mode will fall.

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    Screenshot of advertising application for the implementation of photo and video recordings with imitation of a complete shutdown of the smartphone.

    The explanatory note to the draft laws states that the new meaning of the term is based on the opinionConstitutional Court. But the decision of the COP is no precise indication that the program should be attributed to special technical means.

    The new definition of special technical equipment, in the opinion of the FSB, will make it possible to clearly distinguish between spy devices and devices that are “designed only for domestic use by the mass consumer.”

    The following is a draft of amendments to the Criminal Code:
    FEDERAL LAW
    On Amendments to Article 138.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation
    Article 1
    Supplement article 1381 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Collection of Legislation of the Russian Federation, 1996, No. 25, Article. 2954; 2011, No. 50, Article 7362; 2015, No. 24, 3367; 2016, No. 27, Article 4258; 2017, No. 31, Article 4799) with the following note:

    “Note. By special technical means intended for secretly obtaining information, this Code refers to devices, systems, complexes, devices, special tools and software for electronic computers and other electronic devices., regardless of their appearance, technical characteristics, and principles of operation, which are intentionally given qualities and properties to ensure the function of secretive (secret, non-obvious) information acquisition or access to it (without the knowledge of its owner). ”.


    Although the edits proposed by the FSB are intended to clarify the interpretation of what are special technical means, as a result, new gray areas appear. For a long time, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation has articles No. 272 ​​(Wrongful access to computer information) and No. 273 (Creation, use and distribution of malicious computer programs).

    As a result, both advanced dictaphone applications (or cameras) and programs familiar to many for remote computer administration may be at risk. The explanatory note to the amendments also does not specify what exactly are the signs of secret or non-obvious receiving information or access to it [without the knowledge of its owner].

    In the meantime, they continue to judge for the purchase of devices with the function of remote audio / video surveillance or transmission of coordinates (radio nurses, pet collars) . And criminal cases regularly reach the point of absurdity. In 2017, fellow villagers from a farmer turned to Vladimir Putin and were brought to criminal responsibility for the GPS tracker on a cow.

    PS At the stage of public discussion for (or against) the amendments, it seems, you can vote and leave a comment .
    Screenshot voting