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Russia Outlaws Spy Gadgets

Adrian Mudd   April 16, 2011

Russia has just legislated against the use of some spy gadgets by their citizens. Here we take a look at what this means and how this type of regulation affects different countries in the developed world.

Russia has just made illegal the unlicensed manufacture, distribution, sale and usage of certain spy cameras. Although the ruling by the Constitutional Court left things a little vague, it certainly infers that those caught contravening the new law would face up to three years in prison and/or a £4.5k fine. The ruling that particularly refers to audio recording, monitoring surveillance gadgets and recording devices appears to only allow licenses to be issued to such bodies as the Russian special services.

Spy Camera

Authorities Take Legal Action In Spy Gadgets Issue

Corruption. The vagueness of legislation would even mean that the latest phones would be outlawed. This means the iPhone that can be used as a voice recorder would fit into the category of spy gadgets that would be included in the ban. The court’s reason for the banning of such gadgets was that they provided easy opportunity to breach somebodies privacy. This of course would appear to have a double standard in that it is of course perfectly lawful for the authorities to breach the privacy of their citizens, but it is not okay for Russia’s people to protect themselves against potential

Where Your Country Stands With Spy Gear

Of course this type of overbearing stance we have come to expect from the Russian authorities, but elsewhere in the world, there are countries were more liberal regimes have also banned certain gadgets form sale or use. In Germany remote-controlled bugging devices and cameras that stream live video footage are already prohibited. In the US spy camera systems are also not allowed to record audio, so really the Russians are not completely alone in legislating against voice recorders. In the UK there really are no such restrictions and in fact in 2008 a “White Paper” was near to being pushed through parliament to permit evidence that had been obtained by covert recording techniques.

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