Feature

The new way for the Kremlin to watch us

The security services no longer have to persuade people to inform on their neighbors, said Natalya Krainova in The Moscow Times. Russians now gleefully inform on themselves. Social-networking sites, such as Facebook.com and Odnoklassniki.ru, are a treasur

Natalya KrainovaThe Moscow Times

The security services no longer have to persuade people to inform on their neighbors, said Natalya Krainova in The Moscow Times. Russians now gleefully inform on themselves. Social-networking sites, such as Facebook.com and Odnoklassniki.ru, are a treasure trove of information about people’s political views and whereabouts that anyone—including government agencies—can access. Recently, rumors flooded the Russian blogosphere that the sites were being “controlled by intelligence agencies.” That is probably false. But we do know that banks and credit-card companies have used the sites to find debtors. The military has proposed using the sites to “catch young men dodging mandatory military service.” And anti-Kremlin activists have used the online profile pages of police officers to track down the officers who beat them up at demonstrations. So watch what you post. You never know who might be reading.

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