Russia to Collect Extensive Personal Data on Travelers

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.22 - 2024 2:32 PM CET

Photo: bellena / Shutterstock.com
Photo: bellena / Shutterstock.com
Starting September 1, transportation companies in Russia will be required to collect and provide the government with extensive personal data on passengers, including bank card details, IP addresses, and passwords.

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Starting September 1, transportation companies in Russia—including airlines, rail, and bus services—will have to send a wide range of passenger data to a government database.

This includes bank card details, IP addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and even passwords for customer accounts. Previously, only passport and ticket information was required.

Kommersant reports that this directive comes from the Ministry of Transport, which has outlined a new system for compiling automated databases of personal and crew data.

The collected information will go into the unified state information system for transport security, accessible by various Russian government agencies like the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

This data will be kept for seven years.

A government source told Kommersant that analyzing this data will help identify "unusual behavior" and potential threats, ranging "from smugglers to terrorists."

The Association of Air Transport Operators has raised concerns.

It argues that certain information, like account logins and passwords, is confidential and cannot be shared without the individual's consent.

Moreover, the requirement to transfer data within 15 minutes of ticket purchase contradicts international standards set by ICAO, which advises against demanding data not already in the reservation system.

Airlines are puzzled over how to manage the transfer of such extensive data and question its necessity.

They fear it could attract cyber-attacks and impose extra costs.

The requested data “is confidential and cannot be collected by air carriers,” according to Smartavia.

Smartavia airline also pointed to the difficulty of tracking IP addresses due to VPN usage and the fact that bookings can come from various devices. They also noted that they do not store account passwords and only record bank card information under specific payment methods.

In the bus travel sector, only a small percentage of tickets are sold online, according to Tatyana Rakulova from the Association of Auto-Passenger Carriers.

While Rakulova acknowledges the global trend towards digitalizing passenger data collection, she believes the Russian market is not yet ready for such an expansion of data gathering.

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