The procedure for disabling communication in counter terrorism operations

The national anti-terrorist Committee, approved the procedure of actions of operators during counter-terrorism operations. We are talking about the termination of signal transmission at the government’s request

In early March, the Russian operators have received from the Ministry of communications notification on approval of order of interaction in the suspension of the provision of communication services within the legal counter-terrorism operation. In particular, this document received the company’s “big three” “Rostelecom”, “TransTeleCom” and others. About it told RBC sources close to the two of these operators.

As explained by the official representative of “MegaFon”, the document approved by the decision of the National antiterrorist Committee (NAC) of 14 February 2017, and already published on its website. He describes how to operators communicated the decision to suspend the provision of communication services that shall be contained in such a decision and how resumes the communication services. The representative of “MegaFon” said that the approved procedure konkretisiert provisions described in the legislation.

The representative of “Rostelecom” said that the company is still studying the document. In MTS and “VympelCom” have refused official comments. The representative of “TransTeleCom” not answered the questions of the RBC.

To review NAC failed. The representatives of the constituent of the Ministry of internal Affairs and Ministry of emergency situations reported that questions about the provision does not relate to their competence. The FSB (also included in the NAC) has not answered the questions of the RBC.

According to the law “On combating terrorism”, which entered into force in 2006 in the territory or facilities where introduced legal regime of counter-terrorist operations, for the period of its implementation allowed temporary introduction of control of telephone negotiations and other information transferred on channels of telecommunication systems. You can also search on channels of electric communication and mail information about the circumstances of the terrorist act, the persons prepared and committed. It also allowed the suspension of the provision of communication services to legal entities and individuals or restriction of the use of networks and means of communication.

However, the rules of how it should execute these provisions of the act, still was not told RBC source in one of operators “the big three”.

While in the NAC approved the document does not specify how long could a blackout period of when and what territory may be subject to this requirement. According to the interlocutor of RBC, close to one of the operators of the “Troika”, the following parameters are usually determined separately for each counter-terrorist operation.

A representative of one of operators “three” told that, for example, the requirement to turn off the signal due to the counter-terrorist operation received by the operators in late 2010. As acknowledged by the then representatives of MTS, “MegaFon” and “VimpelCom”, December 20, their subscribers have experienced problems with communication in the North-West of Moscow. But none of the operators had not previously named as the reasons for this are the order of the authorities.

One of the interlocutors RBC noted that there is another way of suspension of services-the use of special devices suppressing a signal of cellular communication within a certain radius, the so-called “jamming”, but it is less effective, more visible and costly. “Jammers are rather expensive device. To kill any signal, the radiation must be very powerful, that is, such a jammer would be difficult to disguise”, explained the interlocutor of RBC.

What you are doing with communications during special operations in other countries

Established at the legislative level the norms of loss of communication in case of terrorist threats exist in some countries. In November 2015, the Parliament of Tajikistan approved the rules restrict all types of communications to combat terrorism. Operators were obliged at the request of the security forces to block the phone lines and Internet as separate regions and the country as a whole. In 2012, during large-scale clashes in Syria, almost all over the country were terminated Internet access. According to the activists, who managed to reach the Western media, also lacked mobile and fixed telephony. In November 2012 mobile network for a few hours blocked in Pakistan. The reason was the police received information about the impending major terrorist attack in Karachi – the authorities feared that mobile phones could be used by terrorists to coordinate their actions.

In many cases mobile communications after the terrorist attacks does not work, simply because communication lines are overloaded. For example, after the bombings at the Boston marathon in April 2013. The blocking of communication lines in the European countries and the United States in the occurrence of terrorism-related emergency situations not applicable.

With the participation of Sergey Vitko

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