Social networking intelligence getting up in Russia, deal with German intelligence denied
The most popular social website in Russia is Odnoklassniki (Classmates), which has 18 million users. Fuelling speculation that the websites are used for government intelligence, SpecLab, a company based in Ivanovo that produces security systems for computers, offices and personal use and counts the FSB as one of its main clients, claimed last month that German intelligence services had acquired Odnoklassniki and were using its data.
Citing former FSB officers on its staff, SpecLab said in a statement that it had obtained ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œunverified data from the FSBÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â that German intelligence had bought the web site from its Russian creator ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œfor a fabulous priceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â. SpecLab also said that former FSB officers considered Odnoklassniki a serious security threat because the FSB lacked a database of a similar size, and that members of the intelligence community, including officers from the FSB, had been banned from posting personal information there under threat of dismissal. A SpecLab spokeswoman, Irina Orlova, said she could not comment beyond the statement. The creator of Odnoklassniki, Albert Popkov, denied selling the website to German intelligence.
OdnoklassnikiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s members include at least several hundred intelligence officers, the online version of the Vzglyad newspaper reported, without citing any sources. It said the members included 46 officers of the Main Intelligence Directorate, 197 officers of the General Staff, 85 officers of the FSB and the Federal Guard Service and a few hundred workers from the Defense MinistryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s mapmaking facilities. In addition, more than 3,000 military units and their precise locations are represented on the site, Vzglyad said.