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Footage reportedly shows police officers in Moscow, Russia, stopping people on the street and ‘demanding to see their phones’ to read messages, according to a Russian journalist – who said the officials were also ‘refusing to release them’ if they did not comply.
The clip – which has come from Kommersant reporter Ana Vasilyeva – was posted on Telegram, where a caption loosely translated into English reads: “Here the police stop people and demand to show what they have in their phones, scroll through correspondence and photos there. Otherwise they don't pass on. I approached and asked why they demanded it. The police checked my press card and did not answer.
“I remind you that the phone is protected by secret correspondence. The demand of the police to show her is illegal!”
The video was also posted on Twitter by Kevin Rothrock, who is the editor of Russian and English language independent news website Meduza.
Rothrock wrote: “Police officers in Moscow today are stopping people, demanding to see their phones, READING THEIR MESSAGES, and refusing to release them if they refuse. This from Kommersant journalist Ana Vasilyeva.”
Police officers in Moscow today are stopping people, demanding to see their phones, READING THEIR MESSAGES, and refusing to release them if they refuse. This from Kommersant journalist Ana Vasilyeva. https://t.co/E8oBw3XPz1 pic.twitter.com/rxk7AmdzOp— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) March 6, 2022
In a series of follow-up tweets, Rothrock also claimed the practise was 'illegal as hell'.
He continued: “This, even in Russia, is illegal as hell. Ana says she approached the officers to ask on what grounds they were doing this. They demanded to see her press credentials and ignored her question after confirming that she is a journalist.
“I can tell you that independent Russian newsrooms all instruct their employees in Russia to disable all biometrics on their smart devices, to prevent the cops from smashing your finger on Touch ID or holding your phone in front of you for Face ID.”
Meanwhile, hacking group Anonymous says it has hacked Russian TV news channels and streaming services to broadcast footage of the war in Ukraine.
The group had previously declared a 'cyber war' against Vladimir Putin's government following the invasion of Ukraine, but earlier today (Monday 7 March) said it was involved in the ‘biggest Anonymous op ever seen’ after hacking into various Russian news channel including Moscow 24 and Russia 24, as well as streaming sites to share footage of the war.
The hacking collective #Anonymous hacked into the Russian streaming services Wink and Ivi (like Netflix) and live TV channels Russia 24, Channel One, Moscow 24 to broadcast war footage from Ukraine [today] pic.twitter.com/hzqcXT1xRU— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) March 6, 2022
Sharing footage on Twitter, the collective wrote: “The hacking collective #Anonymous hacked into the Russian streaming services Wink and Ivi (like Netflix) and live TV channels Russia 24, Channel One, Moscow 24 to broadcast war footage from Ukraine [today].”
At the end of the clip, a message urged Russians to oppose the invasion - stating that ‘ordinary Russians are against the war’.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
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