On Thursday, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state internet watchdog seems to have blocked LinkedIn in the country. The announcement was made on their website and Roskomnadzor said that all the internet providers in the country must oblige.
What was the problem?
The problem with the website which helps people find jobs and provides resources for employers was that it stored user’s personal data on servers outside the country. Which contradicts the Russian law which says the exact opposite. That the people of Russia should not have their data stored on any servers apart from the internal ones.
Roskomnadzor actually sued LinkedIn earlier this year. But the social website lost both the case and the appeal which took place in Moscow last week. Also, a spokesman for the communications regulator said that LinkedIn was to blame for some leaks of personal data, and it was punished for those. This happened back in 2012, when around 120 million LinkedIn accounts got stolen in an attack conducted by Russian hackers.
In an official statement, LinkedIn confirmed the ban they received from the Russian regulators. They also confirmed the reason for it but said that this will not help people in Russia who are looking for jobs. Also, it will not help companies which may want to hire people. Bottom line is that the ban denies access to millions of people in Russia, who were using the website. LinkedIn also said that they wanted to meet with Roskomnadzor to discuss the current situation. But according to a source, the meeting which was supposed to be held on November 11 never happened.
Who is next?
It is still unclear whether LinkedIn wished for more time to oblige to the ban or if they actually wanted to establish a way in which users from Russia would still be able to access the website. The problem is that, at the moment, there are reports of many websites which are not hosting personal data on Russian servers, but on international ones. So was this ban intended precisely for LinkedIn? Or are more websites to follow? Other Internet giants like Facebook, Twitter or Google might also face the same situation in the near future. An keeping in mind that none of them have servers in Russia, it is almost certain that they will get blocked too.
LinkedIn is being acquired by Microsoft
According to LinkedIn, the website has 460 million users, from which 6 million are from Russia. So there is quite the gap this ban induced. The company is currently on the process of being acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion. But rumor has it that the deal might be facing some problems.
All in all, it seems like Russian regulator are not toying around when it comes to the safety of their people’s personal data. Which, if you think about it, is a very good thing. It may affect websites by lowering their user number, but Russian people should feel safe that their Internet regulators care so much about their data.
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