Plans to require social media users to share passport details when signing up for new accounts scrapped by Russian media regulator

Russian government proposals that would have forced internet users to upload documents and postal addresses in order to access social networks and messenger apps have been shelved, officials told reporters on Thursday.

Previously, Roskomnadzor, the country’s digital regulator, published a draft document outlining the potential measures, which would only apply to new accounts and not existing ones.

Data, including passport details and street addresses, would have been provided directly through the sign-up page, or through a standard ‘unified information system’ portal developed by the agency. Companies failing to comply with the order would risk fines of up to 100,000 rubles ($1,300).

However, local media reported later on Thursday that Roskomnadzor had decided the rule change was unnecessary, and it would not become a requirement for new social network users. The regulator has now written off the proposals as redundant, and the original document was no longer available on a government portal. However, other measures are still set to be introduced.

Earlier in March, Roskomnadzor began slowing connection speeds on Twitter in Russia over claims the San Francisco-based firm “does not remove content that incites minors to commit suicide, [and] contains child pornography or information about the use of drugs.” This, officials say, could lead to a total ban on the service within weeks if it fails to comply with demands to take down illicit posts.

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