The document drawn up by the government and published Wednesday evening on the Duma website provides that taxi services, which are very popular in Russia and used via mobile applications, will be obliged to provide the FSB with real-time access to its order databases.
“It is a very difficult measure to implement. But that does not mean that it is not necessary,” said MP Adalbi Chkhagochev, a member of the committee for security and the fight against corruption of the Douma, to the Ria Novosti news agency, emphasizing that it was a matter of national “security”.
Until now, the FSB could obtain this information if it filed a formal request with the companies, which had 30 days to respond, according to the chairwoman of the Civilian Council for the Development of Taxis in Russian Regions, Irina Zaripova.
“Many are scared that the FSB can receive real-time passenger information at any time,” she told Russian radio station Kommersant FM in late March, when the idea was first floated by the Russian Ministry of Transport.
“But when it comes to national security, very often there are situations where something has happened and FSB agents need to have that data practically within an hour to solve a crime or the prevent”, she explained, assuring that “no one is going to monitor this data from morning until evening”.
“It goes beyond the bounds. To be followed without his knowledge without permission… I prefer not to use a taxi anymore,” Yacha Aliev, a 24-year-old economics student, told AFP in Moscow.
Kristina Kochéléva, 23, an employee of the Yandex.Plus customer support service, admits to being “uncomfortable”: “but I think that even without that, they already know everything”, she adds.
Russia has further increased restrictions on civil liberties since the start of its offensive in Ukraine on February 24.
The country has notably blocked access to popular social networks Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and brought legal action against the Meta group, accusing it of spreading “calls for murder” against Russians.
The country has also strengthened its legislative arsenal which makes it possible to punish with heavy fines or prison sentences anyone found guilty of having “discredited” the army or published “false information” about it.