Russian Government wants to control all WiFi devices
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On 14 April 2008, Fontanka.ru online newspaper reported that Rossvyazokhrankultura, the Russian Mass Media, Communications and Cultural Protection Service, intends to ask for the mandatory registration of all WiFi devices, including personal home networks, notebook computers, mobile telephones and PDAs.
Vladimir Karpov, the deputy director of the agency's communications monitoring division, told the newspaper that wireless Internet users will have to register any electronics using WiFi technology. The registration could take as long as ten days for standard devices like PDAs and laptops and the noncompliance may bring forth the confiscation of the respective equipment. Users wanting to operate a wireless access point or a WiFi-enabled home router must obtain a license which might need, in certain areas, a special approval from the Federal Security Service.
While in most countries there is free and open access to WiFi networking with certain limitations on the maximum signal strength of the transmissions, the Russian agency's opinion might reverse previous decisions of the Russian government. In 2004, the State panel for Radio Frequencies gave open rights to a narrow band of spectrum for indoor wireless networks and in July 2007, mobile wireless devices were excluded from the list of electronics requiring registration.
Rossvyazokhrankultura, the author of this bureaucratic, unprofessional and extremely unrealistic policy, was created in 2007 by the merger of the Russian media and telecommunications regulatory bodies. "Similar conclusions speak to the complete professional deterioration of a unified regulatory agency. It is now engaged in all manner of fields - protecting cultural riches, registering mass-media outlets, control of legal compliance on personal data, monitoring communications, allocation of radio frequencies and so on. The organization is led by a metallurgic engineer by background. It is unlikely that he can simultaneously manage communications personnel, fine art experts, journalists and attorneys" stated an anonymous industry specialist.
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