Russia’s Bureaucracy Choking Progress

The Other Russia blog reported yesterday that the state’s Mass Media, Communications and Cultural Protection Service (Rossvyazokhrankultura) is looking to make registration mandatory for every owner and operator of a WiFi (wireless internet) device – which won’t exactly help Russia adopt new technologies… They write:

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. … According to Karpov’s statement, registering a PDA or telephone would take 10 days. Then, only the owner of the device would be licensed to use it. 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).

Talk about a discouraging and unnecessary bureaucratic measure, sure to choke economic growth and modernization – not to mention the Orwellian side of the state’s incessant need to monitor society. Sometimes the strong state has its costs…