The data of the Russians will be traded on the darknet. Investigators Shumanov and Alburov about the law that classifies information from Rosreestr

Director of Transparency International - Russia Ilya Shumanov

The adoption of the law does not mean a global crisis in the "investigation market", while the decision of the State Duma may cause inconvenience to businesses and citizens, Shumanov believes. Real estate data is not the only information used for investigations, and all the necessary information can be found in past leaks. In addition, there is a shadow market for data, which will be used in any case and can become an alternative to open registries.

“This law affects much wider circles and will have a very negative impact not on investigative journalists, but on the real estate market, on operating and management companies that service the housing stock. It will also affect telecommunications and Internet companies, energy and household companies that are in contact with the owners of residential apartments. IT companies also use USRN and big data. They are essentially aggregators, and legally distribute and sell data in convenient forms for consumers. This is a segment of the market that now lives in a white field, pays taxes and replenishes the budget.”

Shumanov claims that all of the listed business segments will try to access data in other ways: "go into the shadows, into the gray or dark zone." Management, telecommunications and energy companies, real estate agencies will still need access, and investigative journalists are only a small part of those interested in information from the register of persons. Businesses and citizens will suffer the most, Shumanov notes, because when a Russian wants to get information about the owner of an apartment (for example, if he flooded it), he asks for an extract from the USRN. So a person receives information in order to go to court with this data and defend their rights. The same applies to owners of apartments and neighboring land plots. At the same time, the state system for processing and storing data is “leaky”, since the data of large, including state, operators appear on the market almost daily. The current situation is no exception, and if there is a request, the data will be put up for sale, Shumanov assured.

Employees of Transparency International - Russia used about 20% of the information from Rosreestr that is generally necessary for investigations, he claims. However, the value of the database is that it always contained up-to-date data, which was also critical in terms of monitoring the income of public officials, for example, officials and deputies. The accountability of officials with the loss of this tool will be weakened, and the number of abuses will increase, the director of the organization suggests.

The deputies stated that the concealment of Rosreestr data is necessary to protect the personal data of Russians. However, according to Shumanov, now a limited amount of information can be obtained from the register, moreover, they do not contain the value of the object and the owner's passport data. They can be requested by the owner or a person with a power of attorney, as well as representatives of the executive branch, that is, law enforcement and regulatory authorities and courts. If a person has died, then the data will be received by his heirs. The list of people who can receive information is limited and does not include journalists, civil and non-profit organizations, and even related owners. Shumanov cited Germany as an example, where the data acquisition situation is different, despite strict private property laws.

“If we are talking about very complex and personal data-oriented legislation in Germany, where they are very strict about the right to privacy and property rights, then even they have reservations that allow, in the public interest, to receive investigative journalists (if they can argue position) data in the German cadastre: information about the property and adjacent owners - neighbors in the stairwell, in the house, in land plots. Even in Germany there is such a practice, but in Russia they decided to close everything.”

Georgy Alburov, an employee of the investigation department of the Navalny team

Navalny's team, according to Alburov, used extracts from Rosreestr in two of their three investigations. The fact that the authorities want to classify the data was clear for a long time, the investigator claims. According to him, the initiatives rested on common sense, because journalists are, to put it mildly, not the main audience of the portal. In 2021, Rosreestr served approximately 150 million signs, and 99% of them are realtors, notaries, people who have received an inheritance, those who want to buy or rent real estate, and check the object before the transaction.

“The authorities were annoyed by offices and journalists who ordered several thousand extracts a year. There were initiatives to close Rosreestr, but everyone understood that real estate agencies would simply collapse from this, that the number of fraudsters in the real estate market would increase. Then the war began, and the authorities decided to introduce this initiative. Now, if we want to get an extract for Putin’s apartment or Shoigu’s daughter, or your neighbor, then this can only be done with permission.”

Alburov believes that the new law will hit investigative journalism, but it will not collapse on the first day the law is passed. Now there are many ways to prove that an official lives somewhere: bases of couriers, bases of deliveries, orders, bases of real estate agencies that regularly leak. Ownership of real estate by a person can also be confirmed in several ways, so the investigations will not stop, but only become more complex, he clarifies. At the same time, according to Alburov, a large number of people will encounter scammers simply because the authorities decided to classify their palaces and penthouses.

Fraudsters will rent apartments that do not belong to them, sell someone else's property, and the number of fraudulent schemes in the real estate market will break through all possible thresholds, an employee of Navalny's team suggests. Management companies will also have to face difficulties: the data from the registry was important to understand how many apartments they have, how many people live, what is the area of ​​​​the apartment and what is the share in the total shared ownership. Compared to investigative journalists, these people's "life is over," Alburov clarifies.

“We will figure out what to do, but they have an absolute disaster. The fact that the State Duma does not think about the people who work with Rosreestr every day just to ensure the life of the country, but thinks only about how to classify their palaces and penthouses is amazing, this is a crime. Shot in the leg by 140 million Russian citizens, notaries, realtors, management companies and banks, and our clothes were simply scorched. A huge number of people will suffer because of this.”

Alburov also claims that the black market of the darknet will now "bloom" and it will have billions of dollars in turnover. At the same time, data from the USRN will also be on the darknet, because this is a “huge lobbying machine with huge money,” to which all banks and notaries need access. Fraudsters will lay out both extracts from Rosestra and the entire database, he predicts. First, the bank with the largest budget will buy them, then the statements will be “on Gorbushka or on a website with databases.” As a result, anyone can download information from the torrent.

American Daily Newspaper

Learn More →