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Skype Apparently Threatens Russian National Security

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the do-icbms-work-on-skype dept.

Censorship 144

Mr.Bananas writes "Reuters reports that 'Russia's most powerful business lobby moved to clamp down on Skype and its peers this week, telling lawmakers that the Internet phone services are a threat to Russian businesses and to national security.' The lobby, closely associated with Putin's political party, cites concerns of 'a likely and uncontrolled fall in profits for the core telecom operators,' as well as a fear that law enforcement agencies have thus far been unable to listen in on Skype conversations due to its 256-bit encryption."

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In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816035)

White women rape your niggers.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816045)

You win over 9000 internets!

IN THE USSR... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816317)

Penis versus vagina. Hyphen denote laser rays eminating.

viv
viiv
v/ \v
vl lv - - - - eee ee eeeeeeee
vl lv - - - eeee eee eeeeeeee
vl lv - - - eeee eee eeeeeeee
vl lv - - - - eee ee eeeeeeee
vl lv
vllv
voov

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816665)

9000 ? More like 10000 niggers

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816783)

Troll nigger ?

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816185)

Forget to check "post anonymously"?

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816239)

Look at the dude's posting history... he's a proud and brazen troll

I have to wonder (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816061)

Will there be any double standards? Will the US politicians start citing all sorts of things about human rights violations and the like while still supporting warrantless wiretapping and other illegal surveillance on citizens and legal residents? The U.S. stopped wearing the white hat long ago... sad.

Ultimate victory! Re:I have to wonder (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816221)

Sir you're erroneus and erroneous.

Infinite-reiterative-loop-quadruple-(or-more)-meta-combo-score!

I'd like to dedicate this victory to all Anonymous Cowards and will accept the honor on their behalf. I do not need bouquets or chocolate so instead please donate to the EFF or the OpenBSD/OpenSSH team or any other pro-cryptography group or endeavor of your choice. I'd also like to use this opportunity to thank the birds outside the windows who often keep me company for their existence, particularly the swallows. And bumblebees and all other well-behaved arthropods. Thank you all!

Kremlin fears even unarmed middle-aged women. (5, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816267)

That the Kremlin (and the thugs who run the place) fear Skype is not a surprise. The Kremlin fears even unarmed middle-aged women who try to protect Chechen children.

According to a shocking report [economist.com] just published by "The Economist", "it was the kind of scene she had described many times. On July 15th at 8.30am, as she left her flat in Grozny, Natalia Estemirova was forced into a white Lada. She shouted that she was being kidnapped, but those who heard were too scared to report it. By the time her colleagues had found out, she was dead, murdered by three bullets in her chest and a control shot in the head.

There was a mark from a man's hand on her shoulder, where she was grabbed, and a bruise on her face, where she had been hit. Her wrists bore the marks of bindings. Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian Chechen president, considered her an enemy. And she died as one. She documented hundreds of similar cases in Chechnya, supplying witness statements and photographs, forcing prosecutors to investigate and the media to write about kidnappings, torture and killings, often conducted by people in official uniforms. Much of what the world knew about Chechnya came from her and her colleagues at Memorial, a heroic group which started by documenting Stalinist crimes but continued to trace their modern-day consequences, especially in the Caucasus."

Natalia Estemirova was born to a Chechen father and a Russian mother. She was a history teacher. One day, upon seeing the dying bodies of Chechen victims killed by Kremlin-backed militia, she swore to help the victims of gross human-rights violations in Chechnya.

She did indeed help the victims by documenting their tragic lives and condemning the Kremlin and the Kremlin-backed government in Chechnya. Allied with Anna Politkovskaya, Estemirova obtained the only conviction of a Russian thug for brutalizing and killing a Chechen.

When the Kremlin-backed government of Chechnya killed Estmirova, it killed the soul of Russia. The evil in the Kremlin rivals the worst evils of Chinese society.

Buddha may forgive Vladimir Putin, but I cannot. God damn him.

Soul of Russia feeds on this stuff (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816921)

When the Kremlin-backed government of Chechnya killed Estmirova, it killed the soul of Russia.

While the killing is tragic, I find that statement humorous.

The problem with Russia isn't just one man - whether it is Putin or his sock puppet president - being cruel. The whole administration, culture, etc. is deeply corrupt. I challenge anyone to drive across the country... No, half the country... Without being stopped by the "police" (militia) for no real reason and having to pay them directly some fine that they just came up with. And I'm not saying that "This will happen once". It will happen about a dozen times.

And the people there are fine with it or at least very used to it. Have learned to live with it. Over all politics - or lack of them - is not a light subject for discussion in Russia but if you do take it up there, you won't hear much heated arguments about how things will need to change.

I was once listening to an lecturer who talked about Russian mindset in Engecon (University of Engineering and Economics in St. Petersburg) and am very willing to agree with her that it well predates the communist era. Their whole history has been full of conquest and dictators. They have never even tried actual democracy and have learned to not really care all that much.

In fact, nationalism is extremely strong in Russia. I mean, they are willing to take the "We have a great country and must respect and support it and it's leaders, no matter what!" even further than people from USA...

So, it is entertaining to read "They killed the soul of Russia". Honestly, if majority of Russians cared about this, it would not have happened. While the Militia is pretty cruel, a few percent of people can never oppress everyone else if the majority really hates the situation enough. But they don't. It's not that they feared too much, it is that they care about completely different things.

Re:Kremlin fears even unarmed middle-aged women. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816953)

I'm so sick of your pro-chechen propaganda. Oh yeah, evil Putin's militia kills history teachers. Do you seriously believe this crap? Just think one minute why Putin would ever need it. On the other hand, chechens and other "oppressed" minorities commit murders and other lesser crimes even in Moscow and are being set free on regular basis.

take this
http://www.lenta.ru/articles/2009/04/27/race/ [lenta.ru]
(in short: chechens drive several cars on Moscow central streets, firing traumatic guns at random people and cars, seized and was releazed with no charge)

or this
http://pioneer-lj.livejournal.com/1221802.html [livejournal.com]
(in short: chechens kill some russians, the police doesn't interfere, people create meeting to make the police arrest the killers, was severely suppressed. The chechen criminals are not affected)

Both articles in Russian.

and so on, and so on...

Posting anonimously because you are brainwashed by anti-putin propaganda and unlikely to even check the facts. I myself don't like Putin or Medvedev but for exactly opposite reason than you: chechens are killing russians and Putin doesn't do anything to make it stop.

Re:Kremlin fears even unarmed middle-aged women. (3, Interesting)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817133)

So the first guy was drunk and waved a gun around and then pay'd the corrupt cops ... the second an organized crime shoot out again with corrupt cop protection? The fact that money overrides racism in Russia is interesting, but in the end it's just plain old corruption ... it doesn't really say anything about the leanings of the government quite like a political assassination.

Re:Kremlin fears even unarmed middle-aged women. (3, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817147)

I don't think it was government who killed her.

Chechnya is a bit like Iraq - it's a mix of different clans (they are called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teip [wikipedia.org] ), warring with each other. Some of these clans are pure savages - there were documented cases when people were kidnapped and enslaved by them (even in the USSR). Kadyrov is only a leader of a very authoritative clan, but he's definitely not the single power center there.

I don't think he ordered to kill her. Why should he? Cynically, nothing Natalia Estemirova could have done would be able to harm Kadyrov. He's got backing right in Kremlin. Probably, he'd be able to get away even if he was caught eating babies.

So it's all much more complex than you think (I have relatives from Checnhya and know a bit about situation there).

Re:Kremlin fears even unarmed middle-aged women. (2, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817427)

The evil in the Kremlin rivals the worst evils of Chinese society.

I have to disagree. China's got nothing on Russia when it comes to oppression, human rights violations, and the constant terror under which ordinary citizens live. The way I see it, the Chinese government may be oppressive, and in its attempts to keep its opponents quiet it does commit human rights violations, but Russian society is simply saturated with corrupt, violent criminals, with no remorse or compassion whatsoever. No victim and no crime is out of bounds for the Russian government and Russian mafia, which are often indistinguishable. So, I'll say it again - China's got nothing on the degenerate monsters which control every aspect of life in Russia.

Re:I have to wonder (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816367)

skype is already compromised thru fring. fring controls skype users login/passwords on their servers in israel. israel shares skype data with the USA. problem solved.
except the russians dont get cut in on this sweet deal.

Re:I have to wonder (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816447)

apropos wiretapping: Can someone enlighten me how Skype can be wiretapped although it uses AES? Does Skype have an additional key it gives away to governments? Did they add that in later versions?
Since some people at Blackhat conference disassembled and analyzed the code, couldn't people offer 'clean' and secure versions of Skype?

Re:I have to wonder (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816471)

I was asking this as I heard about Germany wanting or doing wiretapping Skype, but this article [cnet.com] says it isn't possible except by breaking AES. German police uses a trojan [techdirt.com] .

Probably the reason why China has its own version of Skype, TOM-Skype.

Re:I have to wonder (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816849)

Um, how exactly can you 'prove' that the protocol can't be wiretapped. The protocol isn't public, and the implementation isn't public, so you have to take Skype's word for it that it can't be wiretapped AND that they don't explicitly enable wiretapping in some fashion.

Re:I have to wonder (2, Informative)

JSlope (1180805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816813)

Skype is a closed system, so you can't review it...

Re:I have to wonder (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816837)

I think your confusion happens because you actually bought "cold war is over", "the end of history" claims by various people.

Cold war has never ended.

Re:I have to wonder (1, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817595)

The U.S. stopped wearing the white hat long ago... sad.

Come on, you know how hard it is to keep a white hat white. What did you expect. You should be glad it only turned greyish, they could have put it in the wrong laundry basket...

(internet tech here) threatens (nation here)... (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816087)

This is the new incarnation of formulaic news.

SURPRISE, yet another national govenrment considers unhindered, truly private free speech to be a national security risk, from france to the good-ol' US of A every government is probing their constitutions and public opinion with microscopic probes looking for the loopholes and excuses which will make their abolition appear justified.

Re:(internet tech here) threatens (nation here)... (1)

quentez (1604639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816551)

I agree with that, I'm french and lately the government have kept on trying to enforce new laws concerning the usages of internet. The official reason is to prevent p2p and child pornography but what has email monitoring to do with that ?

Re:(internet tech here) threatens (nation here)... (1)

JSlope (1180805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816845)

Is there a ban on encryption in France?

Ban on *strong* encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28817385)

Is there a ban on encryption in France?

There is a ban on strong encryption. I think the limit of key is 40 bits. In case you want to use something stronger (Internet banking and the like) you can but the key must be given to a trusted third party and revealed to the government if they so ask. Linky. [kioskea.net]

Re:(internet tech here) threatens (nation here)... (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817163)

This is related to big nations exclusively, the smaller the state is the stakes are generally lower and the people are more free. Less police, less army, no taxes and no wiretapping. Do you see the connection here ?

Re:(internet tech here) threatens (nation here)... (2, Interesting)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817611)

SURPRISE, yet another national govenrment considers unhindered, truly private free speech to be a national security risk,[...]

unhindered, truly private free speech as in: provided to you by a corporation through some closed and obsfurcated code with strange secretive routing schemes.

Security? (4, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816093)

So, security is threatened because people can more easily communicate securely? But before VOIP, when more people used insecure phone channels, security was better? The solution to these security problems is to prevent encryption so that anybody with the right tools and knowledge can listen to any conversation?

Re:Security? (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816357)

You remind me of this old cold-war era joke:

American tourist: Of course our technology is better than yours. Why in America, if we need the police on the telephone, we just dial 911 from anywhere.

Russian: We have you beat! In Russia, we don't even have to dial!

Re:Security? (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817101)

reminds me of the KGB poster > "We are still watching you"

Re:Security? (0, Troll)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817241)

You remind me of this old cold-war era joke:

I suspect you've confused jokes with propaganda.

Re:Security? (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817607)

Whether a joke is used to help depressed children or promote patriotism, it's still a joke.

Re:Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816443)

No, security is threatened by software which is closed-source, hardened against reverse engineering and capable of tunneling through most firewalls, has control over the microphone and the camera and reads BIOS information, i.e. Skype.

Re:Security? (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816521)

A few fun facts about Russian laws on the matter.

Russia has a mandatory program for all telecommunication providers (ISPs included), wherein they should have equipment to log all network usage. According to the law, access to that equipment is restricted to law enforcement and intelligence services, and only with court permission; however, they do not have to show the court order to providers, and some parts of the law can be interpreted as meaning that order can be obtained after the fact.

On to more funny stuff. In Russia, "in the interests of informational security", it is illegal to "research, develop, sell or use encryption measures, as well as protected storage devices" without a license; as well as import them (all quotes are translations of the actual law). Enforcement of this is explicitly assigned to the police and Federal Security Service.

Now, I've no idea if Skype has a license or not. They probably do, but I imagine that FSS guys aren't very happy about present state of affairs regardless...

Re:Security? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816703)

Do they even bother with things like licenses in Russia? We are talking about a country where corruption is endemic, contract hits are carried out in broad daylight, and crime bosses and oligarchs are essentially above the law (provided that they don't become too political like Mikhail Khodorovsky did).

Re:Security? (3, Interesting)

21mhz (443080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817061)

Now, I've no idea if Skype has a license or not. They probably do, but I imagine that FSS guys aren't very happy about present state of affairs regardless...

Skype may have a termination agreement with some of the telephony/VoIP operators (which are obliged to provide hooks for wiretapping, indeed). But as the government let strong encryption out of the bag in the early 2000s - sorry, Putin, you can't roll back the history - they have absolutely no control over Skype p2p communications. Don't get distracted with this "national security" talk, the initiative is pure lobbying of our horse cart & buggy whip operators.

Re:Security? (2, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817175)

"On to more funny stuff. In Russia, "in the interests of informational security", it is illegal to "research, develop, sell or use encryption measures, as well as protected storage devices" without a license; as well as import them (all quotes are translations of the actual law)."

It's more complex than that... The current laws apply only to private entrepreneurs and legal persons, they don't apply to private persons. However, creating a software which uses cryptography (SSL for example) can be interpreted as violation of licensing rules (you must be licensed to work with crypto).

I think you have a different idea of security (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816887)

You are thinking of security in terms of "security of the data," they are thinking in terms of "security of the state." If you read up on the history of the USSR, you find that they were positively PARANOID about any sort of subversive or revolutionary activity. The state had to be protected at all costs. Part of that was monitoring everyone to the maximum extent possible. Read up on Iron Felix, the Checka, the NKVD and the KGB. Scary shit.

Well, while the USSR is now officially gone, it isn't just as simple as saying "Ok we are free now." Russia still has many of the same people running it. The KGB may be gone in name, but all they really did was make some of the directorates different agencies. More or less the second, fifth and seventh chief directorates have been reborn as the FSB. Also note that Putin, who was prime minister and now president (they have both there) was a KGB agent.

Russia may be a little more open than the USSR was, but it isn't much and they are sliding back to the bad old days. A non-trivial amount (perhaps even most) of the people running the country seem to be of the mind set that control trumps all.

So, that's what they mean by security. They want to listen to any and everything citizens do to make sure none of them are plotting against the government. They care not a bit about the security of their citizens data.

Re:I think you have a different idea of security (1)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817039)

While what you write is right (no pun intended) it is not the case here. Russian officials, to put it simply, are too stupid to know about some internet technologies. It's all about money here, really.

Fun fact: here in Russia we have to BUY licenses for Linux to present it to police raiding our datacenters. Thank God they cost almost nothing but anyway...

the 21st century is a bitch (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816099)

'a likely and uncontrolled fall in profits for the core telecom operators,'

Yeah, I bet the horse shoe manufacturers lobbied hard against the introduction of the self-propelled carriage too.

Re:the 21st century is a bitch (1)

CSFFlame (761318) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816105)

They did actually. It was quite a show from what I've read.

Russia's most powerful business lobby? (3, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816115)

Would that be the Russian Business Network?

Re:Russia's most powerful business lobby? (2, Insightful)

dragonturtle69 (1002892) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816499)

Putin, friendly with the RBN? [wikipedia.org] Nah, can't be true.

I do find it interesting when governments want encryption, then want to deny it to their populace. Hmm, sorta like guns. You don't need encryption unless you have something to hide. You don't need guns unless you want to commit a crime.

Re:Russia's most powerful business lobby? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28817123)

you need guns to defend yourself against someone committing a crime with a gun.

Skype is open to taps (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816127)

German police let that one slip, so did a few other arrests.
http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Skype_and_SSL_Interception_letters_-_Bavaria_-_Digitask [wikileaks.org]
http://arstechnica.com/software/news/2008/01/bavarian-government-caught-looking-for-skype-backdoor.ars [arstechnica.com]
The rest of Russia's problem is what? A revenue drop from its diaspora?
But they do have a point, the way the "Skype" codec is moving into many free and closed applications.
The Russians miss the good old days when they could track a sat phone and send a guided bomb down (Dzokhar Dudayev)?
But then the NSA did help with that one :)

Re:Skype is open to taps (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816171)

it's a hoax, that russia can't get in. they want the Russian mob "which still exists" to use skype..

Re:Skype is open to taps (2, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816233)

Between the rumors of back doors, and the fact that Skype is an Estonian [wikipedia.org] company whose service was then bought by a large American corporation, it's easy to see why Putin's old-guard party would have some major misgivings about the service.

Re:Skype is open to taps (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816371)

In 197/80s CIA makes Soviet sky light up with defective pipeline hardware.
In 2010's CIA makes Soviet Tier 1 optic network go dark with defective VOIP software :)

Re:Skype is open to taps (1)

acid06 (917409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816875)

Did you really those you posted?

There's no tapping going on Skype per se. Their "Skype-Capture-Unit" is just a trojan which also records audio, video and text. Skype traffic is encrypted and they don't break its encryption at all.

The "suggested method" of enacting such traps is to send the trojan by email or directly installing it in the victims computer.

In other words: everyone who manages to keep their systems virus-free, should be safe.

Re:Skype is open to taps (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816951)

But what is virus-free on windows?
Thinking back to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_(software) [wikipedia.org]
...antivirus vendors have (or would have) whitelisted Magic Lantern, rendering their antivirus products, ..., incapable of detecting ..
Microsoft is the *virus* as Skype might be safe end to end, but its the end points and the IP thats the useful parts.
When skype traffic is encrypted between two users, why not a *default* trusted party as well?

Re:Skype is open to taps (4, Informative)

rxmd (205533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817189)

German police let that one slip, so did a few other arrests.

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Skype_and_SSL_Interception_letters_-_Bavaria_-_Digitask [wikileaks.org]

I don't think you've read that document. There's even an English version [wikileaks.org] . While it's not improbable that Skype does have a backdoor of some sorts, the document doesn't prove anything about that.

They talk about two pieces of software. Their "Skype Capture Unit" is a trojan installed on the computer of the person under surveillance. If you have a trojan on your target machine, you can listen to anything, Skype or otherwise. The point of the name is probably to be able to sell the police other "Foo Capture Units" in the future. The other piece of software is a generic MITM attack on SSL-encrypted connection, nothing specific to Skype.

Re:Skype is open to taps (2, Informative)

frednofr (854428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817285)

This paper describes a side channel attack (basically a trojan listening to the sound card when skype is active), not a real attack where skype traffic would be intercepted and decrypted.

If you're smart enough to know how to avoid getting a trojan on your computer, you're fine.

If the encrypted traffic of Skype was compromised, the FSB would probably know about it.

Security (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816133)

Yup, we can't listen in at all, especially to you confounded anti-Putin dissidents! You can go ahead and discuss anything you want over Skype, and there's no way we'll target you, intercept your call, use it to find some obscure law you've broken, rustle up some evidence, and send you on a whirlwind tour of the Russian justice system!

Well (2)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816151)

Are we sure Russia is no longer communist?

Re:Well (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816919)

This is a political lobby for corporate interests, just like you get in America. It's pure capitalism --- at least how capitalism has turned out to work in the end.

Re:Well (1)

kendoran (1091611) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817097)

It's not pure capitalism. It's mixed economy. With pure, proper capitalism, the government wouldn't be able to take any part in the matter - unless there was fraud, theft, etc.

Re:Well (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817231)

Yep, that's why I said, "...how capitalism has turned out...".

Re:Well (1)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817067)

It's funny you brought up the topic, but yes, most, if not all, today Russian officials and "politicians" are former members of the Communist Party. I don't think they changed much. Hell, Putin himself is a former KGB officer!

rubbish ebay (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816163)

rubbish ebay lets governments-in on key-sniffing... i think this is a way to get some people by using their own stupidity of false security. Skype if you want to be secure isn't secure not as long as it's run by a company as Ebay, and isn't transparent about it's sourcecode... anyone thinking skype is a shield against governments "police" is an idiot...

well, at least they're honest (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816169)

Some blathering about security is to be expected, but it's interesting that, unlike when this sort of stuff happens in the US or Europe, they actually came out and said the real reason: "concerns of 'a likely and uncontrolled fall in profits for the core telecom operators' ". I.e., ban it because it would hurt our profits.

Re:well, at least they're honest (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816227)

So obvious - its not about security, its about Telco's profits. Just face the facts and get with the times. Russian citizens, fight this please.

Re:well, at least they're honest (3, Insightful)

ceeam (39911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816327)

Unfortunately, Russian citizens can't and *do not want* to fight shit.
After 1998-1999 humiliations and since Putin came to power the public consciousness has been conditioned so that nowadays words like "liberal", or "human rights defender", or such are considered virtually as profanities and you wouldn't want to call yourself as one in the crowd.
And I guess this won't change now until people start starving or being killed en-masse. If even then.

Re:well, at least they're honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816383)

Unfortunately, Russian citizens can't and *do not want* to fight shit.

,s/Russian/American/g

After 1998-1999 humiliations and since Putin came to power the public consciousness has been conditioned so that nowadays words like "liberal", or "human rights defender", or such are considered virtually as profanities and you wouldn't want to call yourself as one in the crowd.

,s/1998-1999/2001/g
,s/Putin/Bush/g

And I guess this won't change now until people start starving or being killed en-masse. No, probably not even then.

Fix'd to reflect the state of BOTH countries.

*sigh* anyone wanna join me for a hemlock cocktail?

well, at least they're wires. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816489)

OK and Skype is carried over what, and owned by whom in Russia? Unless the answer is magic pixie dust, I don't think the Russians have too much to worry about.

Re:well, at least they're honest (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816957)

it's interesting that, unlike when this sort of stuff happens in the US or Europe, they actually came out and said the real reason: "concerns of 'a likely and uncontrolled fall in profits

It's great how that at least never happens in the west. Imagine if, just because of greed and redundant business models, the RIAA et al were allowed to bitch about lost income.

Why Do We Need To Spread This FUD??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816177)

Why are we spreading this FUD??? Big bad Russia trying to exterminate Skype. If you actually read about what they are talking it's nothing special. They talk about VOIP services in general and they talk about Skype because it's the biggest VOIP provider. They do mention ICQ too... You can make VOIP calls with ICQ too. ICQ isn't really popular here, but in Europe the defacto chat client that also has voice calls. The bottom line... no phone or cable company anywhere in the world likes Skype because they loose money. Why make this a political issue? As for not being able to tap Skype calls... again, it's a concern for all governments... including the US.

256-bit? (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816199)

fear that law enforcement agencies have thus far been unable to listen in on Skype conversations due to its 256-bit encryption.

Don't they mean 119-bit encryption [slashdot.org] ? :-)

I have to wonder... (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816207)

I have to wonder, what do the governments think they have to accomplish by removing free speech? Do they really think that it will let them hold on to more power? I mean, with increasing freedom of religion you see an increase of lack of religion (atheism, agnosticism, etc). Give enough people unrestricted freedoms and they will tend not to use it, tighten down those freedoms and you have a large amount of people wanting to test every limit of it.

Re:I have to wonder... (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816475)

Except that's not how the human brain works. All they see are threats to their power and money-making operations. Thus you end up with disgustingly cowardly episodes where a gang of men will kidnap a woman who has been speaking out for human rights and shoot her full of bullets. Governments like Russia's aren't interested in thinking long term. They can't afford that. They're just trying to grab all the money they can and keep anyone else, like pesky human rights watchers, from spoiling their fun.

Re:I have to wonder... (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816717)

I have to wonder, what do the governments think they have to accomplish by removing free speech? Do they really think that it will let them hold on to more power? I mean, with increasing freedom of religion you see an increase of lack of religion (atheism, agnosticism, etc). Give enough people unrestricted freedoms and they will tend not to use it, tighten down those freedoms and you have a large amount of people wanting to test every limit of it.

Less people are into religion because it's become pretty obvious that they are man made and not real.

but otherwise I agree with what your saying.

Skype is not free speech (2, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816827)

Since when relying on a third party, closed, encrypted platform owned by an American company for communications is free speech?

As Skype etc. are common "household" names on the internet, we forget the security implications of using such solutions for business. As long as Skype is a closed, proprietary platform, I can agree with any governments (including USA) concerns about Skype.

Of course, if they claim a problem, they should provide a solution. For example, a trust of SIP providers, sponsoring open source SIP solutions, help open source applications to have Russian support. When they sound like "lets go back to copper", the entire point is gone.

Don't forget the telecom industry since the beginning is documented, open, standards based. For example, even in the cold war, Russian telecoms used SSN-7 standards documented by AT&T etc.

i can't imagine a more disingenuous comment (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817045)

the russians are motivated by loss of profits and loss of snooping ability

and you wish to frame this as an open source/ closed source argument

make believe that skype were 100% open sourced (in fact, there are such open source skype-like products out there). you honestly want to represent that the russian attitude would be any different towards open source software?

Re:I have to wonder... (1)

getuid() (1305889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817063)

They think something along the lines of "The internet must not become a law-free space! We must not allow for villains to be able to do their deeds unhindered in this 'internet'!", and, tragically, they actually believe it.

You see, up until recently, "free speech" was only "free as in law permits". If police was to read your snail mail, they did it -- all it took was tearing the envelope apart. If they wanted to listen to your phone conversation, they did it -- all it took was tapto your line. All they had to do is justify it in front of the law one way or the other...

Now, thanks to advanced digital encryption, if you choose to have a private conversation, it is *truly* private. Simply "ripping the envelope" and justifying it afterwards won't do it anymore... What we have now is truly FreeSpeechByTechnology, not FreeSpeechByLaw.

Now. From your point of view, the change is small: You previously thought you could communicate freely (because law guaranteed you to), now you still think you can communicate freely (because technology guarantees you to).

But from the legislative/executive point of view, the scenario changed dramatically: previously, they could, if they chose to, listen to your conversations. Because laws can be broken, bent, or re-designed, in case that it seems fit. However, now, whatever happens, law enforcement cannot listen to your conversations, because proper encryption cannot be broken.

That's what governments are thinking... But that's not the interesting question.

The interesting question is: You understand why even the most liberal western governemnts react as they do at the perspective of not being able to snoop on your communications. Now, what do you learn from this fact about the way the used to be able to snoop on you prior to you being able to properly defend against that? What does it tell you, that, in whatever extent they used to snoop your communications, it makes them this scary to loose that ability, that they feel the need to pass the legislation they do?

Re:I have to wonder... (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817349)

Dude, RTFA sometimes!

It is not the government, it is the cell carrier lobby - the same one that already forbids VOIP over cellular networks in the USA.

In soviet russia (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816235)

definately they do different than in america, where Windows should be seen as threatening national security (think in a digital pearl harbour, where the defenses have a big sign over saying "Come and attack here"). Anyway, calling something threat to security because protects citizen privacy is not very nice, if something have to motivate citizens to use even more secure communication protocols is hearing government complaining about how hard is to spy on them.

Re:In soviet russia (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816333)

MS is like Enigma or Crypto AG for the young and dumb.
They love you using it :)
Sneak and peek with 1 click thanks to Bill's understanding of what the CIA, DIA, NSA, FBI have needed over decades. :)
A massive set of software holes on any brand of hardware.

and this is a bad thing? (4, Insightful)

neuroxmurf (314717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816277)

After all, in soviet russia, national security threatens you.

Re:and this is a bad thing? (1)

tekproxy2 (1386447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816423)

I guess it's a good thing that it took this many posts before it actually happened. Gotta admire the honesty from the government.

Re:and this is a bad thing? (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817457)

shouldn't it be "you protect national security"?

In Soviet Russia... (2, Funny)

Utopia Tree (1040146) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816309)

National Security threatens Skype

You NO mess with mother Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816345)

You NO mess with mother Russia

Remember, Skype is an Iron Curtain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816391)

My dear friends, let us not forget...Skype is a telephone nobody understands.

Pretty stupid but reasonable (3, Insightful)

teamsleep (903456) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816405)

It is reasonable for Russia to be worried about security since with Skype they can't track it properly.

But to stop letting people use Skype or totally disable it because of profits to phone companies is just plain stupid.

Skype is wonderful for people who can't afford the prices of phones and international/national fees. I don't pay for a single phone bill, my parents put Skype on their computers and same with my friends/siblings. When we want to call, we just log onto our laptop/desktop, press Call and viola. It's a wonderful piece of technology, really is.

I see their problem with security. Terrorists could use this on laptops and really not be tracked. Except you need Internet and with Internet you can be tracked. :)

Russia, just track laptops. I'm sure you can do it.

Re:Pretty stupid but reasonable (1)

p.harshal (906745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816609)

Instead why not get into the activities which flourishes terrorism ? that is the best long term solution IMHO.

Re:Pretty stupid but reasonable (1)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817011)

But to stop letting people use Skype or totally disable it because of profits to phone companies is just plain stupid.

Yes it is, but don't underestimate the stupidity of corrupt Russia's government. There was a law proposal lately to ban people from having too much cattle (to protect large agricultural firms' profits, apparently).

Re:Pretty stupid but reasonable (1)

teamsleep (903456) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817177)

Of course, I could believe Russia would do something like that.

A governemnt by, for and of the Oligarchs (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816429)

Someone needs to explain to Democracies* the world over that National Security != The Incumbents ability to get re-elected.

* even Zimbabwe is a Democracy these days.

USA! USA! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816547)

It's not a threat to us as we can listen in on our citizens... Take that commies!

Have you ever made a skype call? (1)

malkir (1031750) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816563)

I work at a place where a lot of people call in on their skype lines and I fucking hate the sound quality. It's like i'm talking to someone at the end of a god damn tunnel. You can keep it.

In Soviet Russia.... (1)

p.harshal (906745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816591)

In American you use skype to call, In Soviet Russia skype gets called!

shiTS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28816715)

Politics (1)

Turmio (29215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816801)

There maybe be a political angle to this also. Skype is originally written in Estonia. Diplomatic relationship between Russia and Estonia is not exactly warm at the moment. I guess that makes "the threat to Russian businesses" particularly "threatening".

Organized Crime (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816933)

I would almost accept that law enforcement needs a way to put taps on communications of organized crime syndicates to try and bring them down. But then I realized that without Skype they would just have to hire an IT guy to run an encrypted Asterisk server for their own personal use. Seems pretty trivial for even a small crime group to come up with a few hundred bucks a month to pay for secure communication when they are likely making tens or hundreds of thousands a month.

Obviously for the lobbyists it is just about money and power. That is the real issue here, not the safety of the community or security of the nation. Oh how very similar are the Russians and the Americans.

I would not worry too much (3, Insightful)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28816983)

The deal is simple: mobile phone operators fear to lose their revenues and want to destroy the competition. That's their only motive. But they can't just go to the officials and say "we lose profits, ban skype" So they make up those ridiculous claims about "national security" and "uncontrolled communication channels" Anyway, "the strictness of Russian law is compensated by optional compliance", as the saying goes, so there.

Oh, it's that way around.. (1)

kav2k (1545689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817265)

I read the article title and thought that they're concerned with this closed-source protocol with possible backdoors open to foreign agents..
Well.. D'oh.

The Obvious Answer is... (1)

Stoned Necromancer (926330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817331)

Skype's core is made by estonians. Of course Russia feels threatened. ;-)

skype any Gov,s best friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28817511)

They could always do what the Chinese gov did make them run tom-skype its logs everything and sends the logs to the chinese gov servers ... its BS that if you use skype your safe just about every Gov in the world has a key , there is a somewhat concerted effort to make you feel otherwise.......... Dont Trust The Bastards Skype is a trojan......

Russia now is Germany in 1933. (3, Informative)

alukin (184606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28817575)

Russia slowly but constantly moves to the same destination as Germany where in 1933, believe me or not. It is obvious from Ukraine, where I'm living.

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