Web

Russian bill could force ISPs to store six months of content and metadata

russian bill six months sms messages logged vladimir putin
If a Russian citizen sends an SMS message, his or her telecommunications provider will keep a copy of that message for six months. And the metadata — who texted who when, and from what device — will be on file for three years. And any service that offers encrypted communications needs to help the police unscramble messages, or face a $15,000 fine.

All that and more is wrapped in a piece of legislation passed by the State Duma, which is the lower house of the Russian legislature, Ars Technica is reporting. Now it needs to pass the Federation Council, the upper house of the legislation, before being passed by President Vladimir Putin.

At least one Russian resident, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, is speaking out.

Snowden added that, in addition to encroaching on privacy, the measures are impractical, and require a massive buildup of storage capacity by telecommunications companies.

Three such companies, MTS, Megafon and Vimpelcom, agree, and have publicly rejected the proposal as impractical, going so far as to say it’s financially impossible to implement.

And the encryption measures aren’t likely to be effective, either. Any online service, from messenger apps to websites, has to help the Federal Security Service decipher messages sent by its users. But there are plenty of ways to send encrypted messages without involving third parties, as we’re sure many Russian cyber-criminals are aware. The law puts a great deal of burden on sites that offer users security without much of a law enforcement payoff.

Of course, this isn’t a uniquely Russian issue. The US government has flirted with banning encryption at times, and the FBI tried to force Apple to decrypted an iPhone not so long ago. But it’s disturbing to see digital rights encroached anywhere.

Computing

Latest SMS breach could allow hackers access to your online accounts

A new security breach that exposed more than 26 million text messages could be a huge nightmare for users relying on two-factor authentication. Many of the SMS on the database contained security codes and account reset links.
Computing

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.
Mobile

You can now message businesses straight through Google Maps

Google has been updating Maps with a ton of new features over the past few months, and now it's back with another one -- the ability for users to message businesses directly through the Maps app.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Mobile

Apple to boost its Amazon presence with listings for iPhones, iPads, and more

Apple is about to start offering more of its kit on Amazon. The tech giant currently only has very limited listings on the shopping site, but the deal will see the arrival of the latest iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more.
News

Zoom in on famous works through the Art Institute of Chicago’s new website

Art lovers, listen up. The Art Institute of Chicago has given its website a serious makeover with new features that let you get up close and personal with more than 50,000 artworks by famous (and not so famous) artists.
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Computing

Over a million veterans now eligible for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program

Comcast's low-cost Internet Essentials program, which provides internet access for just $10 per month, has expanded to include U.S. veterans. One million veterans now qualify for the service.
Computing

Google’s Squoosh will get an image web-ready with in-browser compression

Google's latest web app development is an image editing and compression tool, Squoosh. In just a few clicks, it can take a huge image and make it much lighter and web-friendly, all in your browser.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Social Media

‘Superwoman’ YouTuber Lilly Singh taking a break for her mental health

Claiming to be "mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted," popular YouTuber Lilly Singh has told her millions of fans she's taking a break from making videos in order to recuperate.
Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.