Russia Orders LinkedIn's Service To Be Blocked, Supposedly For Failing To Store Personal Data Locally
from the think-globally,-act-locally dept
Techdirt has written plenty of stories about Vladimir Putin’s increasingly harsh clampdown on Internet freedom. But, like China, Russia is still coming up with new ways to tighten its control. One is the legal requirement that the personal data of Russian citizens must be stored on Russian soil. Now, a US company has fallen afoul of that 2015 law:
Russia’s communications regulator [Roskomnadzor] ordered public access to LinkedIn’s website to be blocked today (17 November) to comply with a court ruling that found the social networking firm guilty of violating data storage laws.
According to the EurActiv story, the ban is being put in place immediately:
LinkedIn’s site will be blocked within 24 hours, the Interfax news agency cited Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky as saying. One internet service provider, Rostelcom, said it had already blocked access to the site.
What’s curious is that LinkedIn is not the only US company to have flouted Russia’s data localization law: both Google and Facebook have also ignored it. A post on NBC News suggests the following is the reason for that discrepancy:
A spokesman for the [Roskomnadzor] watchdog had earlier said that LinkedIn was punished for alleged leaks of user data, Russian media reported.
Information about 120 million LinkedIn user accounts was stolen in 2012, the attack reportedly blamed on Russian hackers.
Irrespective of the messy details of the LinkedIn case, requirements that personal data must be stored locally are likely to become an increasingly hot topic. Already, the EU is unwilling to finalize the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) in part because of US demands that it should include unrestrained data flows — something that could be illegal under EU privacy laws if applied to personal information.
With the person who will soon run the CIA keen on expanded government spying powers, it is almost certain that the current Privacy Shield framework, which allows the personal data of EU citizens to be sent to the US, will be struck down by the Court of Justice of the European Union. If that happens, the only way companies like Google, Facebook — and LinkedIn — would be able to operate in the EU would be to store their data on the continent. If they fail to comply, they won’t be blocked, as in Russia, but they could be hit with a fine of up to 4% of their global turnover.