Russia's “anti-terrorism” telecoms law is ready for action and it reportedly won't cost companies all they feared

Meduza

The government has reportedly brought the costs of a massive data storage and surveillance program down to what it said it would. On July 1, 2018, a new “anti-terrorist” law takes effect requiring telecommunications companies to store user data and make it available to Russian law enforcement.

Three of Russia’s biggest telecoms (MTS, MegaFon, and VimpelCom) previously estimated that compliance costs would run them a total of 100 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) in 2018 alone. The government’s latest estimate is that each company should expect to spend no more than 30 billion rubles ($532.2 million) over the next five years.

So far, only MegaFon has pledged funds to comply with the new data storage requirements.

What does this law require?

The so-called “Yarovaya law” says companies have to store all clients’ voice records for six months (starting on July 1) and all clients’ electronic correspondence for three months (starting on October 1). According to the newspaper Kommersant, the data center that will hold all this information has already been constructed and tested. Located in Nizhny Novgorod, the center was created by Rostech, the “Citadel” holding company, and the National Computer Corporation. The government is still putting the final touches on the bylaws that will determine how the Yarovaya law is actually enforced.