back to article Putin's Russia outlaws ECHR judgments after mass surveillance case

Russia's lower legislative house has passed a law letting its government ignore European Court of Human Rights judgments after the ECHR ruled the nation's internet surveillance was incompatible with human rights. The unrestricted interception of all telecommunications in Russia is conducted through the mandatory installation …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The Register has contacted the Council of Europe's directorate of communications to enquire about the future of Russia's membership, considering the legal room it is affording itself to ignore ECHR judgments. We will update this article if we receive a response."

    Most likely you'll get some guff about keeping channels of communication open which means nothing will happen.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      If we receive a response...

      I'm sure you will.

      sometime around Xmas 2027...

    2. MrTuK

      And the UK Gov will be in the same boat as Russia - sheeesh - How far have we fallen since the end of WW2 !

  2. PhilipJ

    Putin undoing Perestroika one step at a time.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Cornelius Fudge: Laws can be changed if necessary, Dumbledore!

    2. Zippy's Sausage Factory
      Devil

      Because no other government ignores international courts when it feels like, naturally...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yeah. See Australia and refugee's.

      2. Ossi

        "Because no other government ignores international courts when it feels like, naturally..."

        So it's OK for Russia to do it? What's your point?

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          >So it's OK for Russia to do it? What's your point?

          There is an implied "we are better than they are" in pointing out other peoples' flaws. The point is that we should be more concerned with actually doing something about our own flaws than thinking about how evil other people are.

    3. Anguilla
      Unhappy

      RasPutin still lives

      Let me correct the following: Putin undoing Perestroika one step at a time.

      Of course, it ought to have read : The evil RasPutin undoing Perestroika one step at a time.

    4. MrTuK

      And the UK only one step behind them, or maybe two steps infront of them !!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This could get rather interesting ..

    .. as Russia has placed itself in a position to derive benefits from its EC membership without having to meet any of the commensurate obligations. This cannot end well, because allowing Russia to do this would mean others would follow soon. I reckon the Greek government is watching this with extreme interest...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This could get all rather interesting ..

      Do what?

      Unless the Greek government is planning a dictatorship (for comparison, see Greek military junta of 1967–74 on the internet encyclopaedia of your choice) what does Russia blocking judgements of the European Convention on Human Rights have to do with Greek position within European Community or the European Council. ( I presume you meant one of those by "EC") The intergovernmental group related to the ECHR is the 'Council of Europe'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This could get all rather interesting ..

        It's the idea of retrospectively and unilaterally adjusting an agreement with the EC without any discussion or negotiation. If you want to derive the benefits of a membership (whatever they are) you must also follow the terms under which you were offered such membership or you may end up with problems.

        I am not sure what sanctions can be applied to Russia, but I suspect suspending EU membership could be a possible answer which would have all sorts of unpleasant side effects.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This could get all rather interesting ..

          Bizarre - you think Russia's in the EU? It isn't. I think you're getting muddled up between the EU (European Union), EC (European Commission), ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights), and the ECtHR (European Court of Human Rights; the "t" is often added to distinguish it from the ECHR). You don't have to be in the EU to sign up to the ECHR or ECtHR.

        2. graeme leggett

          Re: This could get all rather interesting ..

          @AC

          Russia isn't in the EU. No membership to suspend.

          Read the above sentence again. Are we clear on this matter yet?

        3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: This could get all rather interesting ..

          I am not sure what sanctions can be applied to Russia, but I suspect suspending EU membership

          What fecking Eu membership? You should share whatever you are smoking. While smoking cool stuff may not be a crime in some places, not sharing it is definitely criminal.

          To put it bluntly, for a non-Eu member there are no penalties for withdrawing from ECHR or putting its own legal system above ECHR.

          Where this becomes interesting is for Eu members like UK and for "dependents" and candidate "client states" of the Eu like Ukraine. For these, the money they get and the benefits of being a part of the Eu and/or in a relationship with the Eu are strictly conditional on ECHR membership as well as an execution of the pre-reqs in terms of local legislation.

          Example - in theory, Ukraine should lose _ALL_ entitlement to Eu funds right here, right now, because it refused to approve the changes to its legal and labor code in the part relating to sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. That however, will immediately bankrupt it, so the Eu is not enforcing its own rules. Similarly, the regularly mooted Britain's withdrawal from ECHR should be an immediate membership termination. However, once again, Eu is not following up its own rules here and not stating clearly that this will follow the next day after this tory dream comes true.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This could get all rather interesting ..

            What fecking EU membership? You should share whatever you are smoking. While smoking cool stuff may not be a crime in some places, not sharing it is definitely criminal.

            :). Sadly, it's more a caffeine/sleep deficit. I had all but 3 hrs of sleep after fixing an emergency so I shouldn't post or even assume my brain has actually powered up - the price you pay for helping out the disadvantaged (I cannot bring myself to charge a charity that serves a worthy cause, even though it is sometimes hard work).

            So no EU membership, but in that case, why is an ECHR judgement even of interest to them? I may work it out later myself, but I think that may take a decent night's sleep..

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: This could get all rather interesting ..

              So no EU membership, but in that case, why is an ECHR judgement even of interest to them?

              It was. In happier times.

              Accepting ECHR authority and signing to the convention used to be a precondition to talk to the Eu about anything 15+ years ago. Russia economical situation in those days desperately required it to have access to the Eu markets.

              That is no longer the case now, while its economical situation is nowhere near perfect it is not the disaster of the post-Gorbi days.

              Also, in those days Russia was moving in the centrist direction more or less. Sponsorship of insurgency around their borders and the resulting massacres at Rostov Na Don, Budyonovsk, Nord-Ost, Moscow Subway and most of all Beslan made it swing firmly to the right. It is not longer the Russia which signed up to the ECHR and us giving money to "freedom fighters" (quotes intended) was instrumental in creating the environment for this to happen.

          2. Guus Leeuw

            Re: This could get all rather interesting ..

            Hardly anybody these days follows up on rules they make... That's in a large part why so many people get away with so many things... Cyclists + red lights, cars + red lights, people throwing rubbish on the ground...

            Responsibility can only be taught by enforcing the threat that is part of the rule... Follow the rule or else xyz will happen... Once you omit to make sure "xyz will happen" even though there is a violation of the rule, every sane person on the planet will understand that you're not serious, and rules will be bent, sometimes past breaking point.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This could get rather interesting ..

      I'm sure Turkey*, who are at risk of joining the EU, will also be interested.

      * A country so backwards that you could do time for suggesting the President, who looks like Gollum, does in point of fact look like Gollum

      1. Guus Leeuw

        Re: This could get rather interesting ..

        Since when did France and / or Germany allow the membership talks with Turkey to re-opened?

        Don't forget the whole Cyprus mess that is upholding any negotiations around Turkey joining the EU...

      2. x 7

        Re: This could get rather interesting ..

        looks like??

        I thought he WAS Gollum

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This could get rather interesting ..

      Russia is not a part of the EC. The ECHR is a completely different treaty body that Russia had signed up to, but which it no appears to be ignoring unless the EHCR rules in its favour.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This could get rather interesting ..

        IOW, to Russia is is just "ink on a page". And besides which, they have a history of going it alone. In their view, the EU need them more then they need the EU. Push comes to shove, they could start export controls.

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: This could get rather interesting ..

          Russia does command the greatest weapon a country could hope to use without starting a nuclear war: Valves. Winter is coming, and if Russia were to cut the fuel flow then it would not only cripple the European economy, it'd actually kill people. It'd also utterly destroy the Russian economy, as they are heavily dependent upon fuel exports.

          Part of Putin's power comes from being seen as just unstable enough that he might pull a stunt like that. Superweapons are no use if potential enemies believe you will never use them.

    4. JohnG

      Re: This could get rather interesting ..

      "as Russia has placed itself in a position to derive benefits from its EC membership without having to meet any of the commensurate obligations."

      EC : Russia is not a member of the European Commission

      CoE : Russia is a member of the Council of Europe, although their voting rights have been suspended.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Before we get too judgemental...

    "However, a law passed on Friday through the Duma, the lower house of Russia's legislature, states that the nation's constitution is to take precedence before judgments [sic] or obligations imposed by international bodies."

    Before we get too judgemental, let's pause to say that UKIP and (if the polls are to be believed) most of the UK electorate want to leave the EU for the same reason - to ensure that Parliament takes precedence over EU bodies. Anyone remember prisoner voting demands?

    1. jabuzz

      Re: Before we get too judgemental...

      What's the EU got to do with the ECHR, apart from nothing? Admittedly UKIP want to withdraw from the ECHR as well as leave the EU, but that is different from Russia who has not withdrawn from the ECHR but said we can ignore it's rulings if we want.

      ECHR = European Convention on Human Rights and has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU

      EU = European Union, the renamed EEC or European Economic Community that has in it's found document that we voted on in 1974 "towards an ever closer economic and political union". I would further note that Sir Winston Churchill was all in favour of a United States of Europe as early as 1946.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Before we get too judgemental...

        ECHR membership is typically a requirement of EU membership.

      2. M7S

        Re: Before we get too judgemental...

        Churchill was indeed in favour of this, but also stated that the UK should not be part of it.

        He recognised the very different basis of law and government that applied in the UK as compared to much of the continent, and also at that time we were rather hopeful about continuing dominion over the empire, which was rather incompatible with such an arrangement.

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Before we get too judgemental...

        "...Sir Winston Churchill was all in favour of a United States of Europe as early as 1946"

        He was, but it would be disingenuous not to also note that he believed the UK should not be in the putative USE.

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: Before we get too judgemental...

          Though Britain was in its own group of Commonwealth/Empire at the time and didn't see the two as compatible?

          1. x 7

            Re: Before we get too judgemental...

            The Russian Federation and Commonwealth is a Fascist dictatorship in its totality.

            I don't think that can be claimed for the (ex-British) Commonwealth, except perhaps for Rhodesia and some of the other African states

  5. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Devil

    If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

    ...why is the UK's going to be OK?

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

      Because no one has (yet) complained to the ECHR.

      1. Your alien overlord - fear me

        Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

        Or someone has but GCHQ intercepted that communication and it never got to the Euro Court.

        </tinfoil hat>

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

          Some are in, some are out...

    2. NotBob

      Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

      It's all in who you are

    3. dogged

      Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

      Because the UK's contains gagging clauses. Although the UK will be performing mass surveillance, it will be illegal for you to know about it. If you have any details about it, as in specifics that could be used for an ECHR case, it will be illegal for you to divulge them. The act of bringing a case at the ECHR thus becomes illegal.

      This is actually true.

      I am actually surprised that Putin didn't think of it.

      1. Ossi

        Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

        Erm, you don't need to know the specifics of a case - you could just challenge the law itself at the ECHR as, in fact, happened in this case in Russia.

    4. JohnG

      Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

      "If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

      ...why is the UK's going to be OK?"

      Quite.

      The UK government will probably take the stance that matters of national security interests are excluded, quoting The War Against Terror. I imagine the Russians will do something similar.

  6. Rabbers

    Must be a big consitution

    if the new law means that Russia can blanket ignore every judgement from the ECHR or anywhere else.

    Seems to me that for this law to have any effect, it would have to directly collide with the Consitution.

    Since ECHR is about human rights, and that the constitution is laid down in print as a contract with the people, it should take precedence, yes?

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Must be a big consitution

      The Russian constitution says (did say?) (http://archive.kremlin.ru/eng/articles/ConstEng2.shtml)

      "Article 23

      1. Everyone shall have the right to the inviolability of his (her) private life, personal and family privacy, and protection of his (her) honour and good name.

      2. Everyone shall have the right to privacy of correspondence, of telephone conversations and of postal, telegraph and other communications. This right may be limited only on the basis of a court order."

      Also found

      "Article 29

      1. Everyone shall be guaranteed freedom of thought and speech.

      2. Propaganda or agitation, which arouses social, racial, national or religious hatred and hostility shall be prohibited. Propaganda of social, racial, national, religious or linguistic supremacy shall also be prohibited.

      3. Nobody shall be forced to express his thoughts and convictions or to deny them.

      4. Everyone shall have the right freely to seek, receive, transmit, produce and disseminate information by any legal means. The list of types of information, which constitute State secrets, shall be determined by federal law.

      5. The freedom of the mass media shall be guaranteed. Censorship shall be prohibited."

      I leave it to others to pass judgement on these lofty ideals and their implementation in Russia.

      1. Diogenes

        Re: Must be a big consitution

        Article 29 clause 2 seems to trump everything else - especially as it is not defined as to what propaganda is

        1. MrDamage

          Article 29, Clause 2

          The mention of "linguistic supremacy" seems to indicate they have no tolerance for grammar nazis.

  7. Moonunit

    Putin it to 'em

    Monday. Bad Punday.

    Putin may not be an award-winning Boy Scout, but I have to admit he's at least direct and spends (apparently) very little time hiding behind spin types and obfuscations. 'im wanna monitor, well, 'im does it. In contrast, most of the Western nations hide behind varying degrees and types of Doublspeak while monitoring anyway.

    Not sure which is worse. Worth pondering in any event.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Putin it to 'em

      It is refreshing to see someone who doesn't bend over on demand when the ECHR drops it's pants.

      1. 8Ace

        Re: Putin it to 'em

        Actually at the moment the EHCR is all that stands between us and the extremes of our own government who must be looking at Putin with envy.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Putin it to 'em

          Putin may well be a vicious and nasty dictator type

          He clearly holds fast with a somewhat ironish grip, but I dread what will follow if the US Empire's plan for Regime Change in Russia actually succeeds.

          Amurricans either think that after Putin there will be liberal sunshine democracy like the one they dumped back after 1900 or else they fully are underwriting a complete nucleonization of Russia into a controllable "ex-Yougsolavia Heavy" (controllable by NATO troops shurely, while they manage to encircle the truculent Chinese Panda into a ring of steel). In both cases, sanity is absent.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Putin it to 'em

        "It is refreshing to see someone who doesn't bend over on demand when the ECHR drops it's pants."

        Those damn Human Rights. Always fucking us over, with their desire for freedom and equality. Bastards.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Putin it to 'em

          Those damn Human Rights. Always fucking us over

          I don't think anyone's criticised human rights per-se, only the European Court that has great difficulty in balancing the rights of criminals with those of their victims.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Putin it to 'em

      You are probably right. Putin may well be a vicious and nasty dictator type, but on the other hand he does a lovely rendition of "Blueberry Hill":

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=177gGnMHBPU

      I don't know if they had a vote at the end though.

  8. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Well, I blame ISIS for all these govt reds-under-the-bed paranoias.

    It's bad enough those kids 5hitting in their own beds, but to go to other countries and do it, it's just bad form.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Sir Alien

    The EHCR needs to kick more than Russia...

    If mass call scraping or surveillance is against ECHR rules then quite a number of EU countries need to be kicked as they are already are or planning to do it as well.

    No need to mention the countries by name as people can with reasonable accuracy, guess the countries implied here. If they don't get kicked, it's just another situation of Pot meet Kettle.

  11. Julz Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Optional

    Isn't this what the Tories want to do?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Optional

      Pretty much.

      There's been a theme in recent years. Our governments do pretty much what they want out of convenience and weak excuses, then Putin does the same thing but more deliberate and uses the fact that our lot did it first as justification.

  12. x 7

    lets face it, the very existence of the neo-Fascist state (or commonwealth) known as "Russia" is incompatible with human rights

    to get "human rights" in Russia you will have to carry out a decapitation of government and replace the current mess with someone who at least pays lip service to democracy

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    See, Russia is a Democracy.......

    They're just quicker to the anti-law law than UK, AU, FR, DE and the US.

  14. Primus Secundus Tertius

    Whose Russia?

    "Putin's Russia" says the story headline. Is there any other Russia?

    Russia used to be different, but now there is just the one Russia under Putin. Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Whose Russia?

      You could have gone with "L'Etat c'est moi"

      They used to speak French in Russia.

  15. brainstorm1

    "If Russians want us to regard them as civilized people why don't they speak the language of civilized world?" - William Somerset Maugham.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Sanskrit?

    2. Kernel

      ""If Russians want us to regard them as civilized people why don't they speak the language of civilized world?" - William Somerset Maugham."

      I believe that is in violation of Article 29, Paragraph 2, as quoted above - please report for punishment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How are you going to enforce it, though? The Russians consider themselves independent and sovereign, meaning they answer to no one but themselves. AND they lots of petro exports AND lots of nukes.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nigel - be careful

    of how you express your love an admiration for Vlad - after all you don't want to run afoul of the laws against propaganda of non-traditional lifestyles.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      No you are on all the lists already, they will have to make some more up to add you to another list

      have a beer and relax to the inevitable

  18. dougdaslug1

    The EHCR is a self serving organization with its own agenda.

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