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Russia gives instant messengers 20 minutes to verify users' identities

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has approved bylaws regulating the identification of instant messenger users. The new requirements will take effect 180 days after the new bylaws are published officially, obligating messenger administrators to verify users’ identities through their telephone numbers.

According to the new regulations, instant messengers must deny service to individuals whose phone providers don’t respond to identification requests within 20 minutes. Additionally, people who change their profile information or telephone numbers must authenticate their identities all over again.

The federal law requiring instant messengers to identify users through telephone numbers came into force on January 1, 2018, albeit without the necessary enforcement bylaws. Companies that operate instant messengers face fines as high as 1 million rubles ($15,180) for failing to comply with the new regulations.