Russia is going to ban LinkedIn after court ruling. What’s next?

Pierluigi Paganini November 14, 2016

Russia is going to ban Linkedin after a court ruling that found the professional social network  to be in violation of the country’s data protection laws.

violation of the country’s data protection laws.

On Thursday, a Moscow court has confirmed the decision to ban the professional social network LinkedIn in Russia. LinkedIn is violating the country’s data protection laws that ask foreign and Russian companies to store personal data of Russian users within the country’s borders since Sept. 2015.

This summer a court ruled in favor of Roskomnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, explaining that LinkedIn company didn’t comply with Russian law.

LinkedIn it is not storing information about Russians on servers inside the country, and it is processing information about third parties who aren’t registered on the site and haven’t signed the company’s user agreement.

The Russian Personal Data Law was implemented since September 1st, 2015, it requests foreign tech companies to store the personal data of Russian citizens within the country. The Law was designed for protecting Russian citizens from surveillance activities of foreign agencies such as the NSA.

“On Aug. 4, Moscow’s Tagansky Court approved a request from Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor to add LinkedIn to a list of Internet sites that violated Russia’s personal data laws. ” reported the Moscow Times

“On Sept. 1 2015, amendments to the law “On Personal Data,” which requires the localization of personal data on the territory of Russia, came into effect. Any Russian or foreign company working with Russian users must ensure recording, systematization, accumulation, storage and clarification of personal data of Russians using databases on Russian territory.”


LinkedIn is just the first firm that could be targeted by the Roskomnadzor which is now threatening other tech giants, including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.

‘’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.” “reads a statement from Linkedin.

Some companies like Google and Apple have already moved some of their infrastructures to Russia this year, differently from Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter that decided not to comply with the Russian law.

The ban could take effect today, with Russian internet service providers blocking access to LinkedIn. LinkedIn could still appeal the court’s decision to avoid being blocked across the country.

Russia isn’t the unique country that is going to adopt a similar law, the Germany passed similar legislation that forces tech companies to store German users’ data on servers located in the country.

“A number of American tech companies are investing billions of dollars combined to build data centers across Europe to comply with such rules.” reported the NYT.

In Brazil, a judge also blocked WhatsApp, the internet messaging service, after the company, which is owned by Facebook, refused to hand over data to help in a criminal investigation.

In May, a Brazilian judge ordered to block access to the WhatsApp messaging service for 72 hours, it was the second time in five months.

Brazilian authorities ordered ISPs to block WhatsApp in a dispute over access to encrypted data. The order to block the messaging service for 72 hours has been issued by a judge from the Brazilian state of Sergipe,  the ISPs were obliged to comply the order to avoiding face fines.

According to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo the ban impacted more than 100 million Brazilian users.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Russia, LinkedIn)

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