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Russian Court Continues Ban on LinkedIn Data

A court in Russia has upheld their decision to ban LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, from operating within their country. The service has over 6 million users registered in Russia alone, but they violated a law that requires all foreign messaging services, social networks and search engines to store the personal data of the local citizens within the country borders.

The law was introduced in 2014 and was supposedly brought in to protect the personal data of the Russians, but it was heavily criticised and continues to be fought against. They saw it as an attack on social networking within the country and on their internet usage in general.

There is now concern over how the ruling on LinkedIn will impact how other companies work in Russia. For example, Facebook uses similar storage policies to LinkedIn and their failure to comply with the Russian law could see their services banned too.

While LinkedIn’s website is currently accessible within Russia at time of writing, the country’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said that as soon as they received the full text of the court’s ruling that the website would be blocked.

Some companies, such as Booking.com, Uber, eBay and Google, have said that they will move their data to the necessary servers within Russia, according to Roskomnadzor, but other large technology firms have yet to comment.

While the law has been in place for two years, this is the first time that Russia have actually invoked its ban on foreign companies storing their citizen’s personal data on local servers.

“LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for the entire global workforce,” LinkedIn wrote in a statement. “The Russian court’s decision has the potential to deny access to LinkedIn for the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses. We have today again requested a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localization request and we understand they are reviewing this proposal at the present time.

President Vladimir Putin has also asked government agencies and state companies to start using software which has been developed locally. They are also developing their own versions of messaging applications like WhatsApp for use by government officials. It’s clear that Russia are keen to isolate themselves from outside internet laws – data stored on foreign servers then isn’t within their control, which could be problematic for the government.

In related news, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, the main antitrust regular in Russia, announced that they had opened a case against Microsoft. They accused the technology firm of abusing their dominant market position by not giving anti-virus developers enough time to adapt to Windows 10. They said that this gave an unfair advantage to their own Windows Defender, which comes preinstalled in the operating system, and damages competitors like Russia’s Kaspersky Labs.

They argued that such actions lead to an unjustified advantage for Microsoft in the program market and it’s the FAS’ task to ensure that there are equal conditions for everyone in the market.

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