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Kazakh President Signs 'Privacy' Law

ASTANA -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has signed a controversial law on privacy protection, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The law, which Nazarbaev signed on December 8, prohibits any "unsanctioned interference into an individual's private life," including the use or acquisition of any written, audio, or video material related to a person's private life.

The legislation has led to protests from journalists, opposition politicians, and human rights activists who say the new law is too general and will be used by authorities to curb opposition media and freedom of speech.

Last year, several recorded telephone conversations and transcripts of other discussions between top Kazakh officials were posted on the Internet by Nazarbaev's former son-in-law, Rakhat Aliev, that suggested political and economic wrongdoing by several government officials.

Kazakh authorities said the information had been falsified.

Aliev, who has been living in self-imposed exile in Austria since 2007, told RFE/RL that the recordings are authentic.