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Russia prohibits forced collection of biometric data — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union


Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that regulates the collection and use of biometric data from the country’s citizens.

Legislation Putin approved on Thursday introduces a new state-run Unified Biometrics System (UBS), which is expected to be created next year. UBS will manage all biometric data collected from Russian nationals, including facial images and voice samples. However, the law prohibits the forced collection of such data.

Russians seeking to maintain the confidentiality of their biometric data may refuse to have it collected. They can also easily have them removed from the system if they change their mind if they have already been collected. The legislation also prohibits discrimination against those who choose not to provide such information, stating that a refusal cannot be used as grounds for denying an individual state-provided services or employment.

Indeed, the law makes the State the only operator of biometric data in the country. Previously, any legal person could collect and use such data in Russia. The legislation also restricts the participation of foreign actors in the collection of biometric data, allowing only public entities to collect such data.

The law is seen as a basis to build on, and Russian lawmakers should work harder and introduce penalties, up to and including criminal liability, for disclosing the personal data of the country’s citizens, Vyacheslav Volodin, President of the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, indicated.

“The bill seeks to stop the dissemination of biometric data by various commercial organizations and ensure state protection. The next step will be the introduction of criminal and administrative liability for the forced collection and leakage of biometric data,” Volodin explained last week when the bill was passed by lawmakers.

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