Saturday, November 12, 2016

Russia Blocks LinkedIn, Warns Facebook and Twitter

On Thursday, the Moscow City Court ruled to ban professional social network LinkedIn because of its failure to comply with a controversial data localization law that requires platforms that collect Russian citizens' personal information to store that information inside Russia.  Companies are reluctant to do that out of concerns that the government will force them to hand over users' personal info to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. That would make it difficult for companies to uphold their privacy policies and possibly make them subject to publicized controversies.

LinkedIn has a total of over 400 million users, of which 2.6 million are in Russia. Federal Law 526-FZ came into effect last year on grounds of "overall state security issues" and "increased instances of personal data leakage."  The law states that all personal information provided by Russian citizens when registering on websites, making online purchases or sending electronic messages is considered personal data and must be stored on servers within Russia. platforms violating the law can be fined, blocked and placed on the blacklist of Roskomnadzor, Russia's communications watchdog.

This is the first time Russia enforced this law, although Roskomnadzor had audited 1,500 firms for compliance, securing agreement from Google, eBay, Apple, Booking,com and other Western companies. Facebook and Twitter have refused to cooperate and received a warning from the presidential adviser for internet issues, German Klimenko.