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Putin welcomes idea of criminalizing leaked personal data use

Source: Meduza

Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded enthusiastically to the idea of criminalizing the use of leaked personal data, including the leaked databases often utilized by investigative journalists.

The idea was presented by Kirill Kabanov, head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, at today’s meeting of the Presidential Human Rights Council, attended by Putin remotely.

Kabanov reminded Putin about the 2022 Yandex Eats and Gemotest data leaks, pointing out that they could lead to “perfectly concrete negative consequences.”

Putin agreed that “people who make use of that data should know and understand that they’re using stolen data.” “Precisely so, because with stolen property, a decent buyer doesn’t know that he is buying stolen goods. Analogously, it’s the same thing here,” said the president.

Apart from the idea of criminalizing the use of leaked data, Putin also voiced approval of Kabanov’s suggestion to penalize companies that compromise personal data, by fining them a percentage of their annual revenue. The president promised to task the Interior Ministry with implementing the idea.

Investigative journalists often make use of leaked data in their work. For instance, the Yandex Eats leak helped Meduza and Current Time to identify the new domestic partner of Putin’s daughter Maria Vorontsova. Data leaked by Gemotest was useful in Meduza’s investigation of Ilya Medvedev, the son of Russia’s Security Council chairman.

Businesses are currently minimally responsible for compromising the personal data they gather. Yandex Eats and Gemotest were fined 60,000 rubles each: this is the maximal fine that a court can impose, and it’s roughly equal to $960.

In April, the Ministry of Digital Development proposed fining companies one percent of their annual revenue for compromising the personal data in their disposal.

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