Approved description for public Wi-Fi user identification

18 / 08 / 2014

18 August 2014, the Russian Government has approved a resolution clarifying the means for public Wi-Fi user identification, which is applicable in relation to the previously adopted laws and regulations. In particular it is clarified that to provide public Wi-Fi access a communications service provider has to ask users either to provide their cell phone numbers to receive a validation code, or to provide their last name, first name and patronymic, which are then confirmed using accounts on the Common Government Services Portal, ID cards or any other means not inconsistent with law.

This identification procedure is adopted to implement the previously passed law No.97-FZ from 5 May 2014 about changes in the Federal Law about Information, Information Technologies and Information Security and stand-alone bills of the Russian Federation concerning regulation of information exchange using information and telecommunications networks. The bill was drafted by a group of Russian State Duma deputies headed by Irina Yarovaya, Chairperson of the Duma Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption Measures. It was submitted to the Duma in mid January of 2014 as part of a package of bills aimed at toughening counter-terrorism measures.

Implementing the law No.97-FZ, the Russian Ministry of Communications and Mass Media prepared and coordinated with the concerned departments (the Russian Federal Security Service and Ministry of Economic Development) relevant changes to the rules for the provision of communications services, which were adopted by the Russian Governments bill No.758 from 31 July 2014. The bill stipulates that communications service providers identify the user by confirming his/her last name, first name and patronymic (if applicable). That being said the operator can choose the means of identification.

The approved resolution specifies that communications service providers can identify users by either their cell phone numbers or by their full names, which can be confirmed not only by their IDs but also using their accounts on the Common Government Services Portal. The said means allow unambiguously identifying the user.