It turns out YotaPhone 2 does not have an FSB backdoor baked in

Regardless of your position on the subject of government surveillance and monitoring, reading a report describing a secret software backdoor being baked in to a phone is more than a little unsettling. Unfortunately, that's exactly what was being said about YotaPhone 2 last week. Rostech CEO Sergey Chemezov was quoted as having knowledge of an FSB (Russian Intelligence Agency) backdoor into the dual-screen smartphone, which made it so Russian Intelligence could pull whatever they wanted from the device.

It turns out reality is a whole lot less interesting than the fiction readers have initially been lead to believe, at least that's what the folks who make YotaPhone 2 say.

There's a lot to like about YotaPhone 2, and now that the device is finally headed to the US there will be plenty of folks on T-Mobile and AT&T who get to discover that for themselves. Of the many features Yota Devices can brag about on this dual-screen device, a secret government backdoor isn't one of them. When we reached out to the company for an official statement, Managing Director Matthew Kelly offered a reasonable explanation.

Yota Devices has not provided the FSB or any other security service with a "backdoor" to the personal information of YotaPhone users. The quotes attributed to Sergey Chemezov, the CEO of Rostech, were taken out of context and also poorly translated. His reference to the FSB relates to existing, twenty-year-old legislation that requires phone companies in Russia to cooperate with investigations into criminality or threats to national security. This cooperation must follow a legal process and a court resolution, and it applies no differently to Yota Devices than to any other network, ISP or manufacturer (such as Apple or Samsung) who wishes to be part of the telecoms industry in Russia. It also does not affect any YotaPhone user outside of Russia.

YotaPhone 2 is subject to the same laws every other phone is subject to in the world, which makes sense. It doesn't mean the FSB, or any other government agency around the world, is allowed unfettered access to your personal information. At the end of the day, the version of Android running on YotaPhone 2 behaves the same way all the other do, so there's no need to worry.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

18 Comments
  • Wow.
  • So when do we start hearing about the back doors that are built into the back doors? LG G2
    GSIII
    Galaxy Note 4
    (The Sprint Lover)
  • Um yea... News flash, there is a back door to every single device out there. It's all about if they feel the need to check in on you. I'm pretty boring so I know I'm good. I'm going with marshmallow via AC app.
  • Not surprising. Everything has a backdoor these days whether it be Chinese, NSA, the Russians, the Martians etc. I say hi NSA. Come at me bro Posted via the Android Central App for Sailfish OS on my iPad 7
  • So they have to go through a FISA court thing... Big whoop Sent via carrier duck. They were out of pigeons
  • You forgot to talk about how much you hate OnePlus. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Damage is done.
  • I'm not letting them damn Ruskies anywhere near my backdoor. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not sure if kidding or... well. *sigh
  • Oh no we still have to watch out for Reds under the bed and the threat from that Muslim commie Obama. (Yes I was kidding) Posted via the Android Central App
  • I hope that's part of the camera software, where the e-ink back looks like a camera when you are using it...not useful at all, but cool none the less.
  • More fear mongering about using tech made by a government 'rival'. First Huawei and other Chinese cell makers now Yotaphone from Russia. Geeeeettt over yourselves whoever perpetuates this cold war terror state bull crap. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Make no mistake, in the long run Russia and China are not friends of the USA. It wouldn't surprise me at all if backdoors and spyware are baked into the millions of devices that are imported to the US every year. But then neither do I trust the government's of countries as they have and will continue to spy on their citizens. Don't touch my tinfoil hat!! From my lollipopped rooted LG G2
  • Some say YotaPhone 3 will run PutinOS 1.0
  • I think you're Putin too much stock in that rumor.
  • As if the US government would simply let something like this happen. They're way too paranoid. They probably checked the phone a million times as soon as they heard it's russian.
  • They wanted to but were too busy listing to your Skype calls :)
  • "It doesn't mean the FSB, or any other government agency around the world, is allowed unfettered access to your personal information." Except for the NSA of course.