After blocking access to LinkedIn’s platform on the web in mid-November, Russia has now instructed Google and Apple to remove the said application from their respective app stores in the country. This development has initially been reported by New York Times, which follows in line with the ruling against its violation of Russia’s data storage practices.
For those unaware, a couple months ago, Russia had already instructed the local communications regulator to block access to LinkedIn for the populace of the country. The country’s law defines that technology data-driven companies are required to store personal data of citizens within Russia in an exclusive data center. This law was introduced in 2014 and the government is exercising it to tighten control on internet technology giants.
Now, this move from the authorities of Russia comes as an even harder blow for the Microsoft-owned company. It can be seen as the second phase of the previous court ruling which led to the blockade of the services of the platform for a massive 6 billion users. When the services of the enterprise social network were blocked in the country, the apps also started misbehaving. But they were not removed from the Android and iOS app stores at the time.
The removal of the apps from both the app stores may not cut access to the content on the platform, thanks to VPN services. But this surely has sent out a strong message for other technology giants who are flouting local laws to fall in line before it’s too late. The incident also sheds light on the fact that countries can push major platforms to remove apps violating the law from stores in the country. LinkedIn’s mobile app is no longer available for download in Russia.
When the enterprise social network was blocked in the country, LinkedIn had expressed ‘disappointment’ towards the decision of Russian regulators. The company has today confirmed the extension of the ban its mobile apps both on Android and iOS. A spokesperson has also dispensed the following statement:
It denies access to our members in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses.
This move from Russia where it instructed the tech behemoths to remove LinkedIn’s mobile app from their app stores stems from the China incident where Apple had removed NY Times app from the country’s iOS App Store. The Cupertino giant has confirmed that it has removed the LinkedIn app after being requested a month ago. Similar is the case with the NYT app, where China has asked them to remove their app. In addition, Google has refused to comment on the removal of LinkedIn’s mobile app from the Play Store in Russia. It has just added that it completely co-operates and adheres to the local laws of the country’s it operates in.
However, Russia taking a stand against U.S. technology behemoths to prove a point might further sour its relations with the west. The two countries are already involved in a cyber war, where the U.S. has accused Russia if tampering with their elections and leading the spread of fake news on social media.