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The Kremlin has rejected a proposal by a senior official of Russia's main domestic security agency who said authorities should ban Skype, Gmail, and Hotmail because they are a major threat to national security.

Russian news agencies report that Aleksander Andreyechkin, chief of the FSB's information security and special communications department, told a government meeting on April 8 that encrypted communications providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Skype "pose a large-scale threat to Russia's security" and proposed to ban them.

The Kremlin quickly responded that Andreyechkin had expressed his personal opinion and abused his authority by making the statement.

The FSB backtracked on April 9, saying it was not planning any measures to limit Skype and Gmail in Russia.

compiled from agency reports