LinkedIn is the latest victim of statewide regulations and data monitoring. Russia's communications regulator has ordered to block public access to LinkedIn's website, reports Reuters. A Russian court ruling has found LinkedIn guilty of violating local data storage law.
US headquartered LinkedIn is the first major social networking platform to be blocked by Russian authorities. LinkedIn reportedly has over 6 million registered users in Russia and the blocking will set a precedent for other internet firms' operation in Russia. "The Kremlin said that the decision was legal and that President Vladimir Putin did not plan to interfere in the case," reports Reuters.
Russia has been one of the toughest regulators of social networking platforms. The country already has one of the toughest laws on internet usage. "When asked whether the move might stir fears of online censorship, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were "no such concerns." Russian law requires internet firms storing personal data of Russian citizens to do so on local servers, something LinkedIn has not done. The law was approved by Russian premier Putin in 2014 and came into force in September last year.
"LinkedIn's site will be blocked within 24 hours, Interfax news agency cited Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky as saying. One Internet service provider, Rostelcom, said it had already blocked access," adds the Reuters report.
"Roskomnadzor's action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses," a LinkedIn spokeswoman said. Microsoft recently acquired LinkedIn for a record $26 billion and the deal is being probed for anti competitive nature by the EU antitrust regulators.
LinkedIn has requested for a meeting with Russian watchdog and the meeting will take place within the next two weeks. LinkedIn seems open to discuss the demand for data localisation request but the blocks will continue to be implemented in the meantime.