Technology companies have recently been facing extreme backlash over their data storage and handling policies by governments of various countries, especially China. Joining the list today is the now Microsoft-owned enterprise social network, LinkedIn, which has fallen prey to local data collection laws in Russia.
This unexpected action against LinkedIn comes after a local Moscow court ruling which states that the company isn’t in compliance with the country’s data protection rules. First reported by New York Times, this block stems from the government’s insistent push to gain major control over the data of internet users in the country.
With respect to the same, Russia also passed a law which requires all the technology giants operating in the country to store personal user data of the citizen of the country in locally set up data centers. This new ruling, passed in 2015, might claim to protect people’s online privacy but it grants the government with immense power to force both local and international companies to surrender access to some user data in the long run. This could affect the one promise that customers require an online platform to uphold in any circumstance — privacy.
Due to the aforementioned law, telecom regulator Roskomnadzor, who initiated legal action against LinkedIn, will now instruct the operators to block access to the platform in the country in the coming week — probably starting this Monday.
In a statement received by The Tech Portal, a LinkedIn spokesperson says,
LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for the entire global workforce. 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 remain interested in a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localization request.
The decision to go after LinkedIn out of the blue, as also noted by New York Times, seems slightly odd and planned on the govt’s part. They could’ve easily singled out any of the larger social networks, Facebook or Twitter but banning them would’ve caused a massive stir among the public. But the authorities just want to send out a quiet warning to the tech companies to fall in line with its new policies or face the consequences.
If you look at the recent ties between Russia and United States, then you can say that this move also comes on the heels of the U.S security officials publicly accusing the country of accessing their DNC e-mail records to interfere with the presidential elections. The platform is now set to be blocked in the country on next Thursday but Microsoft can still appeal against the court’s decision. We’ve contacted LinkedIn for more information and will update you once we receive a reply.