A Moscow court ruled earlier this week that Russia’s Federal Service for Financial Markets (FSFM) broke the law when it fined Rambler Internet Holding, a sizable Russian-language news portal and webmail service, for protecting its users’ constitutional right to privacy in email correspondence.
The FSFM had ordered Rambler to disclose email information during the financial market watchdog’s investigation of Project Investments, according to a source in the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) knowledgeable of the litigation and cited by RIA Novosti.
Following Rambler’s refusal to provide email addresses of the individuals under investigation, FSFM brought charges against the Internet company and ordered it to pay 500,000 rubles (over $15,000) in fines.
Rambler argued in the courtroom that while it had cooperated with the government body, it had opted not to invade the users’ privacy by reading their messages, as this would have violated Article 23 of the Russian Constitution that protects people’s right to keep correspondence free from unauthorized intrusion.
In spite of FSFM lawyers’ efforts to prove Rambler’s administrative liability for failing to provide information to an investigation, the court eventually upheld the Internet company’s claim.