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Russia has ramped up its methods of surveillance technology, using expanded tools and techniques to monitor its domestic population, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment from July 3.
The Kremlin has purportedly given Russian law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Security Service (FSB) more advanced surveillance technologies, which can be used "to monitor the location of phones, break into personal accounts, and track activity in encrypted applications such as Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal," the ISW said.
Increased domestic production of such technology is also high on the Kremlin's list of priorities to strengthen Russian intelligence services, according to the ISW.
The ISW earlier reported in its March 27 assessment that Russia had traded advanced surveillance technology to Iran in exchange for drones. Iran likely used the technology for facial recognition during the protests that took place in the country beginning in September 2022, the ISW said.
The ISW refers to Russia's increase in surveillance technology as a feature of "digital authoritarianism," in which Russia uses technology to further control its domestic population.