Friday, April 18, 2008

Russia requires registration of all wifi devices.

According to this post om "The Other Russia" new legislation proposed in Russia requires all wifi devices have to be registered. And that really means ALL devices apparently:
"Vladimir Karpov, the deputy director of the agency’s communications monitoring division, told the newspaper that wireless internet users must obtain permission to use the radio frequency involved in Wi-Fi transmitting, and must register any electronics that use Wi-Fi technology. Wifi hotspots, personal home networks, and even laptop computers, smart-phones and Wi-Fi enabled PDAs would be affected."
On top of that registration takes about 10 days and requires an amount off paperwork equivalent to the application for erecting a call-tower. And that's for a wifi client device only!
"Registering a Wi-Fi hotspot, on the other hand, would be more difficult. Anyone wishing to set up as much as a personal home-network would need to file a complete set of documents, as well as technological certifications. Networks in Moscow or St. Petersburg would also need approval from the Federal Security Guard Service (FSO) and the Federal Security Service (FSB)."

Now I agree that this type of legislation makes no sense whatsoever and has strong dictatorial overtones. However I also wonder what effect this will have on FON's announced expansion into Russia. One of the participants in FON's last round of funding was Coral Capital Management, a Minneapolis-based venture capital arm of Sistema, Russia´s leading telecommunications company. Now, I might be wrong, but I suspect that FON's expansion into Russia might be one of the conditions of Sistema's involvement. This new legislation would seriously hamper people who would be interested in using a Fonera and jeopardise the possible success of FON's expansion..

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