updated 12:40 pm EDT, Wed April 16, 2008
Russian Wi-Fi register?
Russians may soon be forced to register each and every device they own that has Wi-Fi capabilities, a local news publication reports. Fontanka writes that the policy has been adopted by the government agency responsible for regulating communications and cultural protection, and may only allow people to use a Wi-Fi device so long as they have special permission. The registration of items like smartphones and notebooks could take up to 10 days, while routers may require extra documentation, as well as a proper license. In locations such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, people may need the approval of the FSB, the successors to the KGB.
If enforced the policy would reverse otherwise liberal decisions from 2004 and 2007, and potentially cripple Russia's growing high-tech businesses. The reason for the turnaround is unknown, but Fontanka observes that the agency is run by a former metallurgic engineer, who may lack relevant experience. Under Vladimir Putin the Russian government has also become increasingly restrictive with regards to dissent, which may be facilitated by technologies such as Wi-Fi. [via ArsTechnica]