The Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR) was one of the first states to conduct mass surveillance of its citizens. With a network of more than 1 million informers, the KGB (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti, or “Soviet State Security Committee”) assisted the Soviet authorities in maintaining strict control over society. As the Soviet Union dissolved and the communist state disappeared, the mass surveillance disappeared with it. The new constitution, the Constitution of the Russian Federation, adopted in 1993, mandated that people would be free of the type of surveillance that had been characteristic of the Soviet Union. Article 23 of the constitution states,

  • Everyone shall have the right to the inviolability of private life, personal and family secrets, the protection of honour and ...
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