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Hacker Group Releases 128GB Of Data Showing Russia’s ‘Wide-Ranging’ Illegal Surveillance Of Citizens

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Reuters

KEY POINTS

  • The hacking collective said the FSB is operating the surveillance program
  • The surveillance program involves monitoring the online activity of Russian citizens and private corporations
  • Russia launched its SORM project in 1995 that allowed the government to spy on citizen’s phone records

Hacking collective Anonymous on Wednesday released over 100 gigabytes of documents that it claimed showed evidence that the Kremlin is illegally monitoring citizens across Russia.

In a Twitter post, Anonymous dumped 128GB of documents that it said it acquired from the Russian internet service provider Convex. The hacker group claimed that the company launched a project called “Green Atom” that involves installing and maintaining surveillance equipment to monitor the online activity of Russian citizens and private corporations.

“‘Green Atom’ (TS ORM fsb) refers to the installation and maintenance of wide-ranging surveillance equipment that is used to monitor the online activity of all traffic in and out of Convex. This can be classified as espionage, unauthorized wiretapping, and surveillance of civilians without a warrant, which circumvents the laws of the Russian Federation and all public statements of the Russian authorities,” the hacking group said in an email to the Kyiv Post.

The data dump contained the information of thousands of Russian citizens who were clients of Russian corporations targeted by the surveillance program, which the group claimed to be operated by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). The program’s existence was not known until the data dump.

“Documents confirming the existence of this project, as well as the correspondence of Convex employees with the FSB, are now available not only to us, but also to you,” the hacking group added in the email.

The outlet noted that the hacking collective also hinted that there was more unreleased information that would shed light on the FSB’s intelligence gathering capabilities.

Russia is known for spying on its citizens through the System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM) network. First established in 1995, SORM operates as a “back door” that gives the Russian government access to the call, messages and data of customers of Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), the largest phone provider in the company.

The act of snooping on citizens’ phone records is allowed under Russian law. Changes to the legislation over the last decade have covered internet providers and web companies, requiring them to install SORM equipment. In fact, several companies were fined by Roskomnadzor, the state internet regular, for refusing to install SORM equipment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference in Minsk
Reuters

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