Russian security services disabled all mobile phone voice security for 24 hours in Moscow this week, according to a report in the Moscow Times. As a result, police and state authorities could monitor all calls -- as could anyone equipped with an appropriate receiver. Mobile phone users received a text alert telling them that their conversations could be intercepted, and some mobile phones also displayed an icon of an unlocked padlock.
"The action taken to shut down the encryption system was conducted in accordance to the existing law and in order to prevent crimes," mobile phone company Mobile TeleSystems said on Wednesday. The Russian Interior Ministry, said by the Russian news agency Intelfax to be the source of the order, refused to comment.
Indeed. Nor is this the first time
This isn't the first time encryption has been disabled. It was switched off during the Dubroka theatre siege last October, which ended with 120 hostages dying due to the effects of gas used by the special forces, and was turned off in St Petersburg during the visit of world leaders last month to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the city.
It would be nice to see some statistics on how these have helped to solve crimes or stop terrorist acts.
<Homer Simpson's voice>Mmmmm... Government key escrow.... mmmm V-Chip.... mmmmm privacy </Homer Simpson's voice>